We have often heard people say ‘trust your gut’ when you have doubts on certain people or certain decisions you have to make. In fact, trusting your gut is a more reliable way when you feel like you are at the crossroads in decision making. This is not without its scientific basis. As humans, we do have two brains: the cerebral and the enteric. The cerebral brain is in the head protected by the skull while the enteric ‘brain’ is located along the gut, lining 27 foot long from the oesophagus to the anus. The “butterflies” in the stomach feeling when you are faced with a difficult situation and the “intuitive” feeling all comes from the gut, telling the cerebral brain certain situations and stimulations that the cerebral brain may not even recognise and may not have words and strategies for, but the “gut” brain does.
Hence it is essential to keep the gut healthy and working at its tip top condition as this will ultimately have effects on your basic digestive functions and ultimately the quality of your life with decision making and perspectives to life at stake (if your primate intuitive abilities is weakened).
TCM sees the Spleen and Stomach as the two primary organs for digestion, in which case the definitions of Spleen and Stomach is slightly different from Western physiological definitions. The Stomach is like the organ that breaks down the food while the Spleen is responsible for the absorption of the broken down food. The Spleen and Stomach are like furnaces, in which the fire breaks down and burns the food to release energy for the body. This fire is what I called as digestive fire. This digestive fire needs to be well maintained for proper and full digestion of food to take place, otherwise flatulence, bloatedness, constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome may start to surface as undigested food remains in the system.
Nevertheless, TCM has methods such as acupuncture, herbs etc to treat gut issues and maintain gut health, either via detoxification or boosting of the digestive fire.