I LOVE when Western Medicine “discovers” something that our ancestors knew thousands of years ago! Today I came across a study from Ohio State University (OH.. !) that shows how the spleen is affected by long term stress. (Study reveals role of spleen in prolonged anxiety after stress). According to researchers, “the spleen becomes a reservoir of inflammatory cells” following repeated episodes of stress, which then leads to further anxiety symptoms.
If you’ve seen an acupuncturist for stress or anxiety, you’ve probably heard all about your spleen!
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Essentially, we view stress as an irritant to the Liver System, which binds the energy in your body. “Stagnant Liver Qi,” as we call it, causes everything from tightness in your chest to sighing to headache (think of all the familiar symptoms of stress). Over time, this stuck energy eventually weakens your Spleen System, which lowers your immune system and makes you more prone to digestive discomfort like irritable bowel syndrome and gas or bloating. We call this diagnosis “Liver overacting on the Spleen (or Middle Jiao),” which is essentially “Stress affecting the Spleen,” just like the researchers found! Strengthening the Spleen system- which could potentially correlate to decreasing the inflammatory cells in the anatomical spleen- is an important part in mitigating stress and anxiety symptoms.