Why now? We know that the lungs belong to the season autumn and the liver belongs to the season spring, but what season does the spleen belong to? It cannot be winter because the kidneys belong to winter. It cannot be summer because the heart belongs to summer? Since those are the 4 seasons, where does the spleen belong? Well, as opposed to the other organs which only have one main season a year, the spleen is divided up equally throughout the year, taking 4 unique places with an annual cycle.
The time of change from one season to another is commonly called either an equinox (autumn and spring) or solstice (summer and winter). These are the in-between seasons and typically the hardest seasons on the body because they demand change, change from one seasonal energy to another. The spleen’s time is found in those 4 divisions between seasons throughout the year.
Now what do we need most during times of heavy fluctuations and change? Can you guess? The answer is grounding. The more turbulent the time and energy, the more solid our grounding must be to remain strong and healthy. Therefore the element of the spleen is earth.
Since the spleen’s element is earth it tells us that the organ require a dry and warm environment to thrive. The spleen suffers if it gets damp and cool. When the spleen suffers, the entire body and all its intricate systems falter. Just as the earth is our physical center and grounding in this life, the spleen is our center and grounding when it comes to the organs. It is also literally the source of postnatal energy.
Once we are born into this physical world we need to be nourished by food and the energy it contains from the elements, earth, water, fire and air. When we eat the food enters the stomach. Part of the food’s energy is sent to the 6 female or yin organs and this is what creates energy for the body. The other part of the food’s energy is sent to the 6 male or yang organs and this is what creates blood. Together they allow our physical bodies to live. If we do not eat we fail to gain these two types of energy from the world and our bodies die.
The spleen transforms food to supply the body with proper energy to live. While the food is in the stomach the spleen draws the higher energy out of it and into itself, into the spleen. Once all the higher energy is drawn out of the food and all that is left is the husk, the stomach sends the food downward to be further processed. If the spleen is weak the higher energy of the food will not be drawn out to be processed by the spleen, but rather it will fall downward with the rest of the food material and will be lost. The spleen is the only organ that can successfully draw out the higher energy of the food we eat. If the spleen is too weak to draw out this energy, we eat but never feel full or satisfied because we are not gaining the vital food energy. Instead we eat and we feel bloated and even crampy.
Once the spleen draws out the vital energy it both utilizes it for its own health, but also sends it up to the lungs to nourish their energy. People with weak spleens will in time have weak lungs as well because the lung energy relies upon the spleen for nourishment. The lungs in-turn transforms the vital energy into “Pure Energy” which they then send downward to nourish all the lower organs. The entire life energy of the body relies on the strength and proper functioning of the spleen extracting vital energy from the food we eat. This is why when the spleen is weak, the whole body suffers.
An ongoing weak spleen allows all our vital energy to drain downward and leak out through the form of diarrhea, prolapsed organs, vagina, penis and straight out through the pelvic floor and conception vessel one. Countless diseases grow out of such conditions. A weak spleen also creates dull tastes on the tongue. The arms and legs feel weak. We lose the energy to create or pretty much do much of anything. We lose the ability to make solid decisions, can feel bloated, be flatulent and have an overall bogged down, thick, stagnant feeling to our bodies and minds. Other issues from spleen weakness are:
- issues with mucus
- chronic bleeding of gums
- changes in tongue shape, size and coating
- thick white coating on tongue
- gum swelling and bleeding, aching teeth and strong dryness in the mouth is usually from stomach heat and excess energy – stomach being out of balance with the spleen energy
- poor appetite
- shallow or shortness of breath
- loose stools
- weak voice
- hard to focus mentally (spacey)
- sticky sensation in mouth
So what harms the spleen energy and what boosts its energy?
Well poison for one thing! When I was poisoned the spleen was the main organ damaged. However, for a more practical and usual list of harmful things to the spleen:
- Extreme emotions – anger, fear, ecstasy, joy, sadness…
- Imbalanced though processes
- Mental exhaustion from overworking the brain
- Excessive sex
- Too much exercise
- Stagnation – lack of exercise – too much sitting and laying down
- Exposure to extreme heat, cold, wind, damp or dryness
- Overexerting, over living our energy
- Drug use
- Eating garbage foods
- Eating too often
- Not keeping a schedule for your body (spleen energy thrives on routine)
- Iced foods and drinks
- Too much sugar
- Drinking when not thirsty
- Dairy products – very difficult to digest for most people
The spleen is in charge of absorbing the vitality from the foods we eat, transforming and distributing that energy as well as transforming dampness. Anything that creates excess dampness in the body will harm the spleen because the dampness will clog and interfere with the spleens natural function of absorbing, refining and distributing. If we eat foods that are not healthy for us, the spleen cannot profit and rather than the vital energy, the spleen will receive indigestible substance. This indigestible substance will stagnant in the digestive tract and turn into dampness and mucus. The more dampness and mucus that builds up in the body, the harder it is for the spleen to transform and distribute proper energy. The body suffers and disease will follow. Without a healthy spleen to properly transform food energy and transport it as well as fluids through the body, in time the resulting dampness will become pathological through the entire system. Eventually this pathological dampness turns to plaque in arteries and packed around organs like the heart.
So how do we keep the spleen happy?
The general rule of thumb with spleen health is moderation and regulation. Moderate everything in your life and try sticking to some kind of daily routine, especially during and near to the change of seasons. The spleen is in the position of the changing seasons because if it is healthy and strong, you will fare well during those times of environmental fluctuations. The bodies grounding needs to be strong to endure the winds of seasonal shifts.
Foods should be nutritious and wholesome, organic and non-GMO. Sleep should be on a regular schedule. Proper amounts of exercise for you is essential and it varies from person to person. Try to eat on a fairly regular schedule to keep the digestive system in harmony.
During cold damp seasons and weather:
Eat warm foods (cooked) only. Avoid cold foods like salad, raw fruit, yogurt, milk, iced drinks and other foods and drinks that cool the digestive system down. Consume drying and warming herbs and spices, like cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, clove, raw honey (not clover honey), atractylodes, astragalus, sweet foods (not empty sugars though)…
Sweet is the flavor of the spleen, meaning sweet is the taste associated with spleen energy. Natural sweet foods build spleen energy, but too much causes mucus, bloating, obesity as well as obstruction of the spleens transformational functions.
In some cases if the liver is overbearing, congested, in excess and otherwise assuming the bully role, it will literally energetically beat up the spleen and stress it out. In this case, eventually the spleen energy will suffer and to treat the spleen you need to also treat and calm/sooth the liver energy.
For spleen health you can also massage the spleen channel. You can start with spleen 4 which is a point called Grandfather Grandson. It is located in the upper arch of the inside of your foot, one thumb width from the ball of the foot (behind the ball of the foot). Next move up to spleen 6 with is 4 finger widths above the ankle bone and just to the rear of the shin bone (inside of leg). Continue up the inside of the leg to spleen 9 just under the bulge below the inside of the knee. Continue up to spleen 12 and 13 located in the inguinal region on both sides. Then finish up by massaging the location of spleen 16 located on the front of the body, under the lowest frontal rib-line about midway from left to right on the torso.
Of them all spleen 4 is the strongest spleen harmonizer, followed by spleen 6. For males the section of the penile shaft just below the glands is connected to the spleen and for females it is the section of vaginal canal just before the cervix. Both areas can be massaged for the health of the spleen as well. Visualize the spleen in warm sunlight of pale yellow. Do not forget to also massage the spleen itself, located just under the ribs on your left side, where the ribs bend from your side to your front. You can also massage castor oil into the skin over the spleen to help it “move” and release stagnation.
Those are some solid basics to help you work with your spleen in awareness and practicality.
Treat it well and it creates life from within. Treat it poorly and the seeds of diseases will sprout and consume the garden of the body in decay and death.