The Middle or center in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and why treating the abdominal area is important
In TCM, the inner abdominal organs are assigned to the Earth element and the center. Nurturing and maintaining the central energy is a fundamental principle in Chinese Medicine. The main function of the center is to convert the essence of food into Blood, Qi and body fluids and to distribute it throughout the body. This is how the body is nourished. The center is also known as the “Engine for postnatal Qi”.
The Earth symbolizes the nourishing and resting pole of the body and stands for balance, pause and digestion, also on the emotional and spiritual level.
In many cultures the Earth is a symbol of motherliness, preservation of life, security, security, nutrition, abundance and generosity, compassion, recognition, love and connectedness, being at home, welcome, order and harmony.
All influences that come from outside – climatic, social, intellectual and of course the food – are absorbed, processed and digested in our midst, also emotionally and mentally.
The Earth provides the energy for almost all vital functions. That affects the whole person. If the energy is good, our metabolism works and we are well supplied with Blood and Qi.
The assigned functional organ groups are the Stomach (Yang) and the Spleen (Yin).
The Spleen (and also pancreas) functional group controls the transport and transformation of food and fluids. It controls the blood and muscles. The Spleen holds the blood in the vessels and organs in place and supplies them with warmth, blood and energy. It is the source of Qi and Blood and controls the rise of Qi. The energy opens in the lips and manifests in the mouth. She controls the saliva. The associated positive mental aspect is Yi, the thinking and the emotion, that easily turns into a pathology, is worry and the brooding.
The functional circuit of the stomach as a Yang organ controls the absorption and processing of food and is considered to be the origin of fluids. It is responsible for the further transport and the descent of Qi (together with the Lungs).
A common TCM syndrome is the so-called “Spleen Qi weakness or defiency”. It complicates and promotes many other syndromes. The deficiency of the Spleen manifests itself primarily in physical weakness, tiredness and powerlessness, dysfunctions of food transformation and transport, digestive disorders, tendency to obesity, organ subsidence (ptosis). Reasons for this are often a “wrong” diet (too irregular, low in nutrients and too cold), physical and mental overwork, chronic illnesses, too much worry and brooding. According to TCM, this can lead to increased moisture and phlegm, which greatly weakens the “middle” energy.
For the treatment and care of the middle, the area of life care, especially eating habits, is of particular importance.
There are other important energy centers in the middle of the body that can be included in the treatment.
- the area of the solar plexus and diaphragm
- the area around the navel.
- the “mid” section of the so-called “lower dantien” between the pubic bone and the navel
There are acupuncture points in the vicinity of the genitals and between the pubic bone and anus – often referred to as the “lowest” part of the lower dantian. For specific ailments they can are in fact needled in the clinic. However, there is use is linked to very concrete painful conditions regarding uro-genital, fertility or conditions linked to the rectum (haemorrhoids, anal prolapse, anal fissure). Most often the practitioner instructs the patients to self-massage or acupressure these points.
For these ailments many acupuncture points also lie on the back of the body on the sacrum.