They say it takes guts to face stressful situations. And, according to meridian energy principles, your ability to handle and process stress can often depend on the condition of your Stomach Meridian.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the stomach is known as the "Sea of Nourishment." It digests bulk foods and fluids, and ferries them into the small intestine for extraction and assimilation of nutrients.
The stomach also extracts pure energy from foods and fluids. It coordinates with spleen energy to transport food energy through the meridian system to the lungs, where it combines with air energy from breathing.
Governed by Earth energy, the stomach is responsible for extracting and balancing the energies of all 5 Elements from the foods and fluids we ingest.
What is the Stomach Meridian?
The Stomach Meridian runs along the front left and right sides of the body. It starts from below the eye and travels down the neck, torso, abdomen, and down the front legs and ends at the top of the second toe.
Because food is energy, eating well means fully integrating the energy of your food—the calories that fuel your physical energy and the Qi energy of your meridians—into your digestive cycle, from ingestion to absorption to elimination.
All meridians have certain times of day when they are most active. The Stomach Meridian is said to be most active between 7:00 and 9:00 am. This is why it is best to eat breakfast between these hours.
You can tell when your Stomach Meridian is awake when you feel hungry. Hunger is your body's cry to your mind that it wants to be fed. But it isn't our stomach that is hungry, says meridian energy expert Chungsuk Lee. According to energy medicine, he says, hunger signals stress or depletion.
It is our mind that wants to be fed something nurturing to relieve the stress, explains Chungsuk. "This meridian becomes active when you feel hungry from your mind. I'm really talking about a situation when you are under stress. This is why some people overeat when they feel stressed."
It doesn't mean that your body does not need food. Your body will send a distress signal to your brain when it is running low on fuel. So it's important to respond to your body's needs.
But you need more than food to feed your Stomach Meridian energy. Because stress impacts the overall condition of your body, it is important to manage stress for a harmonious Stomach Meridian.
Not only is the Stomach Meridian correlated to your actual stomach, emotionally it regulates your response to stress. This meridian also relates to your Solar Plexus or third chakra which governs your creative life force.
According to energy medicine, people whose Stomach Meridian is very active tend to adjust well to their environment and are able to overcome obstacles more quickly.
How to Release with Stomach Meridian Exercises
Shin Tapping Meridian Point Stimulator
One easy way to stimulate the stomach meridian is by gently tapping or putting pressure on the Joksamri points located in the lower leg, on either side of the shin bone, just below the knee.
How to do Shin Tapping Stimulate Meridian Points:
Of the 365 energy points in your body, this meridian point is directly related to longevity.
1. Sitting on the floor with your knees bent, or sitting in a chair, make loose fists and begin tapping on either side of your shin bone, just below the knee, with the sides of your fisted hands.
2. Tap or massage in circular motions both sides of the kneecap at once.
Try tapping for at least 3 minutes on each leg. This will improve circulation, release stress and stimulate your Stomach Meridian.
Horse Riding Squats
1. Standing in mountain pose, feet together with arms at your sides, take three deep breaths.
2. Place your feet as wide apart as you can comfortably balance. Relax your neck and shoulders.
3. Place your hands on your waist and slowly bend your knees to drop into a 'horse riding' stance. Aim for squatting as close to the ground as you can. Hold the squat for 1-2 seconds then slowly return to standing straight.
4. Repeat the squat 20-30 times, or as your strength will allow. It is better and more challenging the more slowly you do this exercise.
Eventually you will build up leg muscles and increase your stamina to the point where you can hold the squat position for ten seconds or more.
Crescent Moon Stretch
This exercise is similar to hatha yoga's backbending crescent moon posture and warrior pose. It is a beautiful stretching exercise that opens the front of the body, strengthens your legs and ankles, stimulates the Stomach Meridian, and also helps improve balance.
How to do Crescent Moon Stretch:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, hips square and toes pointed forward. Bend your right knee and turn your torso to the right while bringing your left leg behind you, with your foot at a 45-degree angle.
2. Bring your right arm up straight, fingers pointing skyward. Inhale and exhale while looking just over the top of your fingertips. Raise your left arm and clasp your hands. Inhale and exhale once more, repeating your skyward gaze.
3. Facing sideways, bend backward until your spine is arced into a crescent moon shape. Tilt your head back to stretch your upper spine and neck as well.
4. Hold this pose for a few seconds before returning to an upright position.
5. Switch sides. Bend your left knee and bring your right leg behind you, turning your right foot to a 45-degree angle.
6. Bend back once again, holding your spine in an arc for several seconds.
Repeat this movement ten times on either side for a spine tingling and relaxing experience!
These Stomach Meridian exercises will provide strengthening, clearing, and stress relief, so you'll be able to "stomach" anything life throws at you.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions about your medical condition.