Good digestion is the seat of a long life.
Traditional Chinese medicine has long understood the importance of good digestion. One famous medical doctor from the 16th century named Yu Jia Yan wrote:
If the stomach is strong, a person has the ability to transform food into valuable nutrients that the body can use. If the digestive force is weak or blocked, the body will not receive the nutrients it needs or properly eliminate waste.
You may have heard of acupressure.
The philosophical and clinical roots of Chinese medicine did not have words for the enzymes, minerals, bacteria, and other catalysts that we now know to be an important part of the digestive process. Nonetheless, modern medicine has found that acupuncture can effectively regulate the digestive system and strengthen its ability to break down food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate waste.
Chinese medicine understands the body as constantly balancing the opposing and interdependent forces of yin and yang, which are like the water and fire aspects of the body. This constant balancing act is expressed as qi (commonly spelled chi), which translates to “energy.”
Each organ in the body has its own qi and follows a specific pathway. Much like a river running through the earth, qi runs through pathways in the body called meridians. Meridians are like rivers of qi in the body. Where the qi collects is called an acupoint. Stimulating these acupoints is called acupressure.
1. Simple tips to get started:
2. When acupressure is combined with the right essential oil, the effect is comparable to acupuncture. Many times, an acupuncturist will use essential oils on children or on patients who do not wish to be needled.
1. STOMACH 36:
The acupoint known as Stomach 36 (ST-36) is also called Zu San Li, which means “leg three miles”. The name refers to the ability of this point to greatly strengthen energy, so that a person can walk another three miles, even when exhausted.
To locate: Slightly bend your leg and place four fingers just below the kneecap. Begin with the index finger at the base of the kneecap. The point is where the little finger rests, on the outside aspect of the hard shinbone. Feel around for the tender spot.
This acupoint can boost the immune system, and it can also strengthen overall energy. It is often used to strengthen weak digestion and improve digestive disorders, ranging from constipation to diarrhea, gas, bloating, vomiting, and nausea.
Essential oils: Orange, Neroli, or Bergamont.
Caution: All of these oils can make the skin sensitive to sunlight and are phototoxic. Use only in the evening or when you plan to stay indoors.
Supplement: When your stomach is not digesting food properly, it’s important to get the most bio-available sources of nutrition. Body Ecology Vitality SuperGreen heals and nourishes your gastrointestinal tract.
2. REN 12:
Ren is a channel where all the yin fluids of the body collect. Ren 12, also called Zhong Wan or “middle cavity,” is specifically where the energy of the stomach gathers and collects. In Chinese medicine, the stomach is called the “sea of water and grain”. One of its principle functions is to transform water and grain into usable nutrients.
To locate: Find your belly button and locate the point where your ribs come together, where there will be a soft depression. If you draw a line from the point where your ribs meet to your belly button, Ren 12 is in the center of this line. In the chakra system, this relates to the solar plexus.
This acupoint is used for lack of appetite and indigestion. Excess emotion while eating, especially anger, can damage the function of the stomach. This acupoint relieves stomach upset that is related to emotions. It can also alleviate fullness from overeating, gas, bloating, and acid regurgitation.
Essential oils: Ginger.
On sensitive skin, mix ginger essential oil with a carrier oil, such as jojoba.
Supplement: In addition to acupressure, digestive upset and acid regurgitation can often be alleviated with the addition of good bacteria in the form of fermented foods and beverages. Combining diet with acupressure is like two people coming together for a common goal. The effect is often more profound.
3. STOMACH 25:
Even though this acupoint is located on the stomach meridian, it is where all the energy of the large intestine gathers and concentrates. The name for Stomach 25 (ST-25) is Tian Shu, which means “heaven’s pivot”. This acupoint is where the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract meet and relate to each other.
To locate: Place three fingers parallel and alongside the center of the bellybutton. The point is at the edge of the last finger, three fingers away from the center of the bellybutton.
Stomach 25 is especially useful in alleviating constipation, diarrhea, and any other kind of intestinal disorder. Stimulating ST-25 also moves abdominal blood and can alleviate menstrual irregularities.
Essential oils: Fennel or Frankincense.
Try direct application. Or mix a few drops of fennel or frankincense with a carrier oil. Coconut oil and apricot kernel oil are especially good choices. With light pressure, massage around the bellybutton in small circles that move from right to left.
Caution: If you are pregnant, avoid fennel essential oil.
Supplement: Body Ecology LivAmend is the perfect complement to ST-25 disharmony. It contains 50 mg of wasabi powder and also has extracts of artichoke, sarsaparilla, and milk thistle. These herbs increase bile flow and improve bowel elimination. Adding sulfur-rich wasabi to your diet is one of the best ways to support your body’s pathways of elimination, assist your immune system, and relieve inflammation.
Good digestion is the key to a long, healthy life. Traditional Chinese medicine uses acupressure to help stimulate good digestion. Chinese medicine works to balance the yin and yang of the body by stimulating acupoints to promote vitality and healthy digestion.
You can perform acupressure on yourself using the right essential oils to receive similar results to professional acupuncture. Stimulating specific points will improve your digestion, boost your immune system, and even improve your overall energy! Acupressure is best used with the right supplements and fermented foods to fill your gut with good bacteria and aid in healthy digestion.