Stomach and Spleen Imbalances
Next up in my 6-part series on meridian imbalances in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), I am focusing on the sister meridians, Stomach and Spleen and how an imbalance in either of those meridians may manifest in the horse.
To review some of the terms and concepts of TCM, you may want to check out Part 1 again.
Here is the flow chart which shows the order in which chi energy flows. Again, chi takes 24 hours to cycle through the entire body and then it begins over again each morning at 3:00 a.m.
The Stomach Meridian
The stomach meridian begins under the eye (on each side of the body). It travels to the nose and then alongside the jawbone. From there, it runs down the cervical (neck) vertebrae, through the chest and along the lower part of the abdomen and loin. It passes over the front part of the stifle, over the tibia (part of the hock joint) and ends just above the coronary band. A diagram of the stomach meridian can be seen here.
The function of the Stomach in TCM is much like how it is seen in the Western world–it controls digestion. The stomach receives and transforms food and then (along with the spleen) transports food ‘essences’ and Chi to other parts of the body, and especially the muscles.
Symptoms of an Imbalance in the Stomach Meridian
For horses, a Stomach meridian imbalance may include:
- digestive disorders including colic
- eye problems
- stifle problems
- TMJ pain
- lethargy/ weakness
Acupressure Points for Stomach Meridian Imbalance
The Spleen Meridian
The spleen meridian begins near where the stomach meridian ends, at a point on the inside of the leg just above the coronary band (all the coronary band points are known as Ting points, by the way.) The meridian continues up the inner back side of the pastern, goes slightly forward passing over the inside of the hock, then up the middle of the inside leg along toward the stifle. It goes toward the point of the hip (tuber coxae), then slants toward the head, running alone the underside of the abdomen to the 4th intercostal space (space between ribs) at the level of the shoulder. Finally, it slants back toward the rear of the horse, ending in about the 10th intercostal space, approximately level with the point of shoulder. A diagram of the Spleen meridian can be seen here.
The function of the spleen meridian is to assist the stomach in the digestive process by transporting and transforming food. The spleen governs blood and supplies the ‘essential body energy’ for the horse. It is said to also govern muscles, connective tissue, and the four limbs. Proper movement is closely connected to the spleen meridian.
Imbalances in the Spleen Meridian
If your horse is suffering from a Spleen meridian imbalance, the following may occur:
- stocking up
- weak immune system
- muscle problems including atrophy and lack of strength
- digestive disorders including diarrhea and weight problems
Acupressure Points for Spleen Imbalances
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series, where I will focus on the Heart and Small Intestine Meridian!