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HoloSapiens - the TCM "Food as Medicine" Project



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 of the following disharmony, 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 Qi of the Stomach (and not only) ceases to flow smoothly. 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 belong to element Earth; Wood disrupts Earth, i.e. Wood overacts Earth).  The emotions that particularly affect the Stomach are worry and excessive thinking.

Food retention 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 Traditional Chinese Medicine" in the Physiology chapter.




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


Symptoms of “stagnated Stomach Qi" are fullness and distention of the epigastrium. As the food is not being processed vomiting will bring about relief. There is nausea and sour regurgitation, the breath is foul. If the disharmony is not relieved until bedtime one will have difficulties sleeping.




The treatment principle of stagnated Stomach Qi is to move Stomach Qi by stimulating its descending quality and move the food retention. 


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Food Therapy


Food therapy is the most economical and non-toxic biochemical approach to health 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 a form of therapy.   


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


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