Lethargy & Apathy in Summer?

Welcome to the world of the Spleen in Chinese Medicine. What has this seemingly insignificant organ got to do with my health, life and well-being?

The organs of summer (fire) are the heart and small intestine and later in the season, the Spleen and Stomach (earth). The Spleen and Stomach are essential and sensitive in every season, however, in Bejing the summer arrives with a thump and the heat and humidity are brutal, so we need to pay extra attention to avoiding dampness and nurturing the Spleen.

The first thing we need to keep in mind is that when we say the ‘Spleen’ we are not simply talking about the physical organ but instead a set of functions and relationships that the Spleen rules. Chinese medicine is much more about how the body functions – its connections and relationships. Think about it like this: all vital human activity is assigned to the organ system that it is most closely related to or associated with. The Spleen has some very important jobs contributing to healthy human activity and if those jobs are not being done well, then we say the Spleen is imbalanced. This does not mean that you have a ‘bad Spleen’, more that you are not providing the ‘right’ environment for the Spleen to do its job well. The Spleen is the primary organ of digestion and sometimes it is helpful to think of the Spleen as meaning ‘the function of digestion’ from a western perspective.

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