Many people who suffer with fibromyalgia have digestive disturbances, and a life-long pattern of worrying and “swallowing their feelings.”
In the energy terms of TCM, a key to fibromyalgia is the Spleen meridian.
One of the Spleen meridian’s functions is to partner with the Stomach meridian on the way to nourishing the Heart. The Spleen, according to TCM, also nourishes muscles, which explains the occurrence of muscle pain in fibromyalgia.
Western medical facts are consistent with the TCM view. The spleen organ “recycles” the blood; that is, it filters the blood, removing old or damaged red blood cells and bacterial or viral pathogens to protect against infection. The spleen also functions as reserve storage for blood. Since red blood cells transport oxygen, which is what every cell needs to make its own energy to function, the spleen really does hold the nourishment for the heart and the muscle tissue!
In their article “Chinese Medicine for Fibromyalgia” (see www.tcmpage.com/hpfibromyalgia.html), Wei Liu, TCMD, MPH, LAc, and Changzhen Gong, PhD, MS, of the American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, explain how imbalance in the Spleen meridian can occur:
Chinese medicine sees the Spleen as being the key to (the) spiral into fibromyalgia. The Spleen is responsible for transforming the food that we eat into the energy (Chi) and blood that sustain our bodies. Obviously, the health of the Spleen can be affected by inappropriate diet, but it is also strongly affected by the emotion of worry, or over-concentration.
Chronic worry or too much studying eventually interferes with the Spleen’s ability to generate and convey sufficient Chi and blood to the muscles and flesh, which is an area of the body that the Spleen is especially responsible for.
The principal muscle that the Spleen needs to sustain is the Heart. The Heart is considered to be the home of the Spirit, and has a close relationship with the Spleen. When the Spleen cannot generate enough substance to nourish the Heart, the Heart Chi does not have enough power to house the spirit properly, and symptoms such as anxiety, palpitations, and insomnia result.
A Spleen Deficiency condition can result in fatigue, muscle stiffness, and pain; a Heart Deficiency condition usually brings emotional unrest and insomnia. These two deficiencies then feed into each other: insomnia causes muscle pain and stiffness, and muscle pain makes sleep more difficult.
The spleen’s job is to transform what we eat into nourishment that sustains our body’s health. The Spleen meridian can become constricted and weakened when we fall into chronic worry, and the over-concentration of trying to be perfect, a pattern that is typical of the fibromyalgia profile.
You could ask yourself, “Am I burdening myself with toxic materials or thoughts? How am I at breaking down problems into digestible parts? Do I have enough sweetness in my life? Do I have too much sweet in my life?” (Sweets can damage the spleen.)
A person with fibromyalgia probably grew up in a family that fostered a deep need for approval and a powerful expectation of success. When we feel like we must be extremely successful and we need to find our approval outside ourselves, we tighten up inside. We worry that there is something wrong with us, that we won’t measure up.
Repeatedly thinking worried, anxious, approval-seeking thoughts can cause constraint in blood vessels and muscles or meridians that deprive the body of essential energy (chi) as well as blood and oxygen. Over time, this constriction can lead to the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
We are tapping on the end of the Spleen meridian when we tap on the point under the arm (four inches below the armpit). This point is Spleen 21. In fact, this point is specifically used for fibromyalgia-type pain.
Tap for old beliefs that reflect Spleen energy imbalance:
I had to be perfect, or else.
I am all alone, I have to do it myself.
I have to tough it out and soldier on.
I just forge ahead as if nothing is hurting me.
I have to pretend everything is okay when I am really feeling lonely or sad.
I am sensitive to criticism and I am hard on myself.
I worry that I am not doing enough, I’m not good enough.
I am really conscientious.
When I must compete or be observed while performing a task, I become so nervous and shaky that I do much worse than I would otherwise.
I am always trying to figure out what everyone else wants instead of I want.
I have to get it right the first time.
The Spleen’s positive psycho-emotional attributes are trust, honesty, openness, acceptance, equanimity, balance, and impartiality. We can tap for inviting and choosing and opening into these qualities in our lives.
Except from the book, EFT for Fibromyalgia
By Dawson Church