Hi everyone! Over the past 6 years, I’ve been working on a number of projects outside of the clinic. Everything from finishing my doctorate in traditional Chinese medicine, to developing a formulation lab for a natural product company, serving as the Head of Faculty and Content Development for an online integrative medicine academy, and creating a short documentary film called “Cancer Culture” (that I have not formally released yet!). I also refocused my clinical work on consultations for people with chronic disease, built my own drjasonamiller.com website, and have been producing more webinar and lecture content. With all of these projects, my time in the clinic has been reduced, and I haven’t been as available to work directly with people in the community as I have been since we opened Jade Mountain back in 2006.
Before jumping into this month’s topic, I wanted to let you know that as of the past few weeks, I’ve decided to refocus more of my time and energy on the clinic, and I am now offering sessions at Jade Mountain again. My clinical sessions involve a unique combination of evaluation and treatment that I have developed over the past 20 years, integrating the Taoist principles of traditional Chinese medicine with modern lab tests and physical examination, and combining acupuncture with Asian bodywork therapy and Applied Kinesiology. Please contact Jade Mountain Medicine for in-house sessions at 541 482 2107, and I look forward to seeing some of you soon!
The Spleen-Immune-Digestive Network
In modern medical science, the spleen is primarily a lymph organ that is in close contact and communication with the lymph vessels, nodes and organs, including the tonsils and thymus. It is also involved in transporting fatty acids from the intestines to the blood, producing lymphocytes and antibodies, and filtering lymph fluid.
The “Spleen Organ Network,” in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is based on functional aspects of the biomedically defined stomach, spleen, duodenum and pancreas. Through elegant and complex interactions between many interwoven systems, the TCM Spleen refines what we eat, transforming our food into tiny, bioavailable metabolites that supply our bodies with essential nutrients. This action is achieved through the complex interaction of many specific enzymes, the microbiota, and the diverse community of cells that make-up the human GI tract.
A more modern interpretation of the TCM “Spleen Organ Network” concept is, “The Spleen-Immune-Digestive Network.” This more biomedically related term embodies the Spleen’s dual roles as both digestive and immunological. Both of these systems are highly dependent on energy to drive them, which overlays nicely on the concept of Spleen “Qi,” and how important it is for supplying the energy needed to run our digestive and immune systems.
In TCM theory, all disease stems from dysfunction of the Qi, and in modern medical research, mitochondrial dysfunction has been identified as a major factor in a host of modern chronic diseases. The TCM term, “Spleen Qi Deficiency” has been used to describe a set of symptoms that is encountered frequently in the clinic today. Although it often manifests primarily as digestive tract disturbance, it entails a multi-system/multi-organ functional impairment that correlates with what we call mitochondrial dysfunction today.
By identifying key clinical symptoms and overlaying them on specific biomarkers, we can identify disruptions in the Spleen Organ Network, including mitochondrial dysfunction and microbiota imbalances, and we can apply effective tools from our botanical, nutritional, and dietary toolboxes to address them.
Written by Dr “Cedar” Miller
Jason A Miller, DACM, LAc