“The main aspect of the Spleen’s function in the psyche is its housing of the Intellect: memory, focusing, concentration, mental application, studying and ideas. . . . From the perspective of emotions, the Spleen is weakened by excessive pensiveness and worry. In severe cases, a weak Spleen may generate obsessive thinking.” —G. Maciocia
- difficulty focusing, easily distracted, lethargy and inertia
- overwhelmed by details, upset by changes
- easily worried, obsessed
- tender muscles, bruise easily
- slow digestion or indigestion, poor or variable appetite
- frequent abdominal gas or bloating
- loose stool stemming from raw or cold foods/liquids
- lingering hunger after meals
- hard to gain, lose or regulate weight
- prolapse of stomach, intestines, uterus, vagina, bladder
- lack of muscle tone or strength
- water retention, puffiness, heaviness of head and/or limbs
- prolonged or heavy menstruation
From a Chinese medical perspective, the signs and symptoms above point towards Energetic Dysfunctions of the Spleen-Pancreas. While there are many possible diagnoses that involve the flow of Spleen-Qi, a major element to keep in mind is that the Spleen is easily attacked by Dampness. External Dampness (such as living in a damp house, a foggy environment, wearing wet clothes after exercise, or wading in water) and internally induced dampness (from a diet rich in raw foods, dairy products, and sweets) all affect and can weaken Spleen-Qi. When the Spleen becomes damp and cold, transport and transformation of nutrients are impaired and digestives problems ensue.
Because Spleen-Qi is responsible for transporting Food-Qi to the entire body and the four limbs, when Spleen-Qi is deficient the person will feel tired (exhausted if the deficiency is chronic), and the limbs will be deprived of nourishments and feel weak. When Spleen-Qi is deficient, one never feels hunger. When Spleen-Yang-Qi is deficient (the warm energy related to Spleen-Qi) hands, feet, and nose are cold; it is time to eat nutritious, warm foods. Chronic cases of Spleen-Qi deficiency often manifest with a swelling of the sides of the tongue, but only in the middle part of the tongue (related to Spleen-Pancreas and Stomach area).