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Food Stagnation



  • stress
  • sudden and excessive emotions
  • over- eating
  • eating in a hurry
  • worrying while eating

Note: To understand the term "Qi", thus to get a better grasp about the following pathology, we encourage our readers to review the short material "What is Qi" in the Vitality chapter.

The Qi of the Stomach may stagnate for various reasons but the major ones are stress and emotions. Whenever there is sudden and extreme emotion the energy of the Stomach (and not only) ceases to flow. Whenever we are under stress the Qi of the Liver stagnates, which often gets transferred to the Spleen/Stomach partnership (the Liver belongs to element Wood, the Spleen/Stomach to element Earth; the root of the tree (Wood) disrupts the Earth, i.e. Wood overacts Earth).  The emotions that particularly affect the Stomach are worry and excessive thinking.

Food retention is a pathology that unfortunately is very common for the contemporary person and happens when one over-eats. It can also happen when one eats in a hurry or when one worries while eating. (1)

If you want to learn more about the Stomach and its functions from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine go to "The Stomach in Chinese medicine" in the Physiology chapter.




  • fullness and distention in the epigastrium
  • nausea
  • sour regurgitation
  • foul breath


Symptoms of “stagnated Stomach” are fullness and distention of the epigastrium. As the food is not being processed and stuck in the Stomach vomiting will bring about relief. Nausea and sour regurgitation are also present; the breath is foul. If the pathology is not relieved until bedtime one will have difficulties sleeping and experience insomnia.




The treatment principles of this pathology is to move the Stomach Qi by stimulating its descending quality and remove the food retention from the Stomach. 


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Food Therapy


Food therapy is the cheapest, non-toxic, biochemical approach to illness and disease. Food is something we continuously use to sustain our lives. Learning what foods are healing (and what disruptive) for each condition has the potential to convert every meal into therapy.   


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(1) Maciocia, Giovanni (1989). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Nanjing: Harcourt Publishers Limited


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