The Spleen(脾) and the spleen meridian(脾经)
Before I start to introduce the spleen, we should clarify the conceptual differences between western medicine and TCM about the spleen. In western medicine, the spleen is an organ that acts as an filter for the blood, and is a part of the immune system. In acupuncture/TCM, the spleen refers to the Pancreas.
The functions of the spleen:
- The spleen transforms and transports food, water and nutrients through out the body.
- it absorbs the essential components of food and liquids we consume and transform them into nacessary nutrients, then transports them through out the body
- it distributes liquids through out the body and maintains the water balance within the body. When the spleen malfunctions, the water distribution will be go awry, conditions such as edema will occur.
- The spleen governs blood.
- it generates blood. Blood is an essential bodily substance, when the spleen malfunctions, blood production will be affected, which will results in dizziness, emaciation, etc.
- It contains blood within the blood vessels. When the spleen is weak, blood will leak out of the vessels, conditions such as subcutaneous hemorrhage will occur.
The spleen is a Yin organ and is the Yin of Yin. It is related to the season summer (like the heart, but the spleen is specifically related to the late summer), the taste of sweet, the color yellow, and the element of earth.
The spleen Meridian(足太阴脾经)
The spleen meridian has 2 pathways:
- it starts at the medial aspect of the big toe, at the corner of the conjunction of the nail and the nailbed. Then it runs along the medial aspect of the foot at the junction of the dorsum and sole of the foot, goes up in front of the medial malleolus up to the medial aspect of the lower leg, runs alongside the posterior border of the tibia, crosses and goes in front of the liver meridian, passes through the anterior border of the medial aspect of the knee and thigh, enters the abdomen and connects with the spleen and stomach. Then it passes through the diaphragm, runs upward alongside the esophagus, connects the root of the tongue.
- the branch starts in the stomach, goes through the diaphragm, connects with the heart at the point of Ren17 (Ren meridian), then connects with the heart meridian.
There are 21 points on the spleen meridian, they treat:
- digestive conditions
- OBGYN conditions
- pain along the meridian pathway