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Hollow Stomach


The Stomach is the partner organ of the Spleen (In traditional Chinese medicine the Spleen is referred to as the collective work of some organs and systems participating in the digestion rather than the anatomical organ spleen). Together with the Spleen the Stomach is responsible for the digestion of food and the transformation of food into blood and energy.

The Qi flow of the Stomach is essential for carrying out the difficult task of digestion. After the proteins are broken down in the Stomach the food enters the Small Intestine for additional disintegration and absorption. A healthy Stomach Qi always flows downwards as this is the direction the food should continue after it is processed by the Stomach.  Unhealthy Stomach Qi is either “rebellious Qi” – Qi flowing in the wrong direction, or “stagnant Qi” – Qi, which ceases to flow at all.

“Rebellious Stomach Qi” is Qi, which flows upward. Signs of rebellious Stomach Qi are  nausea and vomiting (the food is going upward instead of downward). The causes for rebellious Qi are often sudden or excessive emotions, which interfere with the healthy descending of the Stomach energy.

“Stagnated Stomach Qi”, is Qi which simply doesn’t flow. Stagnated Stomach Qi manifests with bloating, belching, and Stomach distention.  It is also caused by excessive emotions, especially worry and overthinking (the emotions of the Earth element). These emotions are very damaging to both the Stomach and its partner organ the Spleen and should be counteracted and transformed.

Certainly a healthy Stomach depends on ones healthy eating habits. In general the Stomach prefers moist foods and dislikes too much baked and broiled “dry” foods. The challenge here is that the Stomach’s partner organ - the Spleen - rather prefers warm and dry foods. Alternating moist and dry foods in a healthy way is essential to keep the digestion and absorption harmonious. (1)

Another important part of having healthy eating habits is to balance “hot” and “cold” foods. “Hot foods” are generally spicy foods, most meats (with the exception of pork), most nuts. “Cold foods” are most fruits and vegetables, clams, crabs, tofu. A healthy meal is a meal, which consists of both hot and cold foods.


Except balancing “hot”, “cold”, “dry” and “moist” foods in the diet it is essential to also remember these advises:

  1. Eat small meals more often rather than big meals in big intervals.
  2. Do not overeat, but don’t stay hungry either.
  3. Chew your food long and slowly to help the Stomach break down the food easier.
  4. Do not eat late at night – this is a major cause for Spleen/Stomach dysfunction.
  5. Do not eat cold foods straight from the refrigerator. Always go for room temperature.
  6. Eat good breakfast (the majority of the contemporary people drink a cup of tea or coffee to start their day, which is not healthy) (1) Preferably start your day with something warm and easy to digest, such as hot cereal.


If you feel that your Stomach is in disharmony review the following materials to learn what pathology corresponds to your condition and learn some of traditional Chinese medicine's healing approaches with foods and acupressure.

Heat and Fire in the Stomach

Cold in the Stomach

Rebellious Stomach Energy

Stagnated Stomach Energy




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


Related Articles:

The Spleen and the emotion pensiveness

The Spleen, the season late summer, and foods during late summer that benefit the Spleen

Herbs that treat dampness and benefit dampness in the Spleen

Spleen Qi deficiency

Herbs that tonify Qi and benefit Spleen Qi deficiency

Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness


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