The stomach, known as "the sea of food and fluid", is responsible for "receiving" and "ripening" ingested food and fluids. When food is ingested, it passes down into the stomach where stomach qi and fluid decompose it into materials to be further digested in the small intestine.
Food is divided into two parts in the stomach. The "pure" part is sent upwards to the spleen for transformation into nutrient materials for the body. The "impure" part is sent downwards to the small intestine. This function is called the "descending the impure" in TCM. While the spleen rules "ascending" functions, the stomach rules "descending" functions. If the stomach loses its descending properties, disharmony occurs, leading to symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Being a yang organ, the stomach prefers a moist rather than dry environment. Excess of yang may sometimes cause "dryness fire" which leads to stomach disharmony as well. This condition presents as a dry mouth and thirst.
The Stomach Meridian starts from the end of the Large Intestine Meridian at the side of the nose, and passes through the inner corner of the eye to emerge from the lower part of the eye. Going downwards, it enters the upper gum and curves around the lips and lower jaw. It then turns upwards, passing in front of the ear, until it reaches the corner of the forehead where it splits into an internal and external branch. The internal branch emerges from the lower jaw, running downwards until it reaches its pertaining organ, the stomach. The external branch crosses the neck, chest, abdomen and groin where it goes further downward along the front of the thigh and the lower leg, until it reaches the top of the foot. Finally, it terminates at the lateral side of the tip of second toe. Another branch emerges from the top of the foot and ends at the big toe to connect with the Spleen Meridian.
Stomach Meridian disorders have symptoms of stomachache, rapid digestion, hunger, nausea and vomiting, or thirst. Other symptoms that relate to disorders along the meridian pathway include abdominal distension, ascites (a fluid build up in the abdomen), sore throat, nosebleeds, or pain in the chest or knee.
Acupuncture points in this meridian are indicated for certain gastro enteric diseases, toothaches and mental illnesses. Conditions that affect areas through which the meridian passes such as the head, face, eyes, nose and mouth can also benefit from stimulation of the acupuncture points along this meridian.
These and other Traditional Chinese practices all form part of TCM, each adding a little to the history and methodology of Acupuncture and Herbs.
Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC PGDip(CHM), practicing Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Harley Street, London. Make an appointment for an acupuncture or Herbs treatment and we can discuss how we can help you, to read more about Eca click here.