The solar plexus, aka celiac plexus is sometimes called the abdominal brain because it regulates the abdominal organs and the brain. It is made up of two celiac ganglia located posterior to the stomach and anterior to the abdominal aorta and inferior vena cava. The nerve tissue gathers here and is connected to the nerve fibers of the vagus and phrenic nerves.
One function of the celiac plexus is to transmit visceral sensory impulses involved in digestion. The celiac plexus supplies the inferior esophagus, stomach, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, liver gallbladder and small intestine.
When a plexus is in a state of hyperactivity, it will mitigate its stress to another organ. If the organ is already weak or in distress, the overstimulation could adversely affect the function of its neighboring organ. 5 element theory describes a common pattern, Wood overacting on Earth, which describes the organ pattern Liver overacting on Spleen. This language describes the relationships of the organs to one another in terms of excess or deficiency, hot or cold, yin or yang, exterior or interior. This terminology describes the imbalance, the nature, the condition and its location.
If we have a sluggish Liver, bogged down with environmental toxins, congenital factors, heavy fats, greasy foods, excess sugar, stress, medications, vaccines and cellular waste, our Livers are unable to filter or perform its detox function. This stagnation creates an opportune environment for heat or inflammation. When Liver Qi stagnates, it eventually generates heat. This pathologic heat will overact onto the spleen and pancreas, generating damp-heat. Pathogenic dampness affecting the Spleen is commonly seen in conditions such as IBD/IBS, frequent illness, food sensitivities, body aches, fatigue and autoimmune conditions. Liver Qi stagnation may also ascend and consume Heart Qi and Yin. This pattern would include symptoms such as anxiety, palpitations, mania, restlessness and insomnia.
This damp environment could manifest as abdominal bloating, constipation, diarrhea, brain fog and muscular fatigue. Diet, food allergies, viral infections, stress and genetic factors all contribute to damp conditions. Long term dampness could lead to abnormal insulin secretion as seen in diabetes. Insulin resistance could be described as pathogenic dampness affecting the pancreas and spleen. In these conditions, damp aggravates the abnormal insulin secretion from the pancreas which can lead to a variety of complicated conditions. In excessive dampness there is cravings for sugar or carbohydrates. Yeast and candida thrive in damp and could be the reason for chronic UTIs, vaginal yeast infections or halitosis, candida etc. Research is also showing the “dampness” of the microbiome as a major factor in periodontal disease and oral health.
Overtime, dampness may congeal into phlegm, affecting the mucosal layers of the nose, throat and colon. Sinusitis, chronic throat infections and colitis are commonly seen as damp pathogens that have festered, thickened and generated toxic heat in the body. These complex symptoms are just a few examples what may arise due to an organ in disharmony. In this case, if dampness prevails, there will be an inability to excrete or absorb, transform and transport. These simple mechanisms are the basis of digestion and cellular metabolism, and thus our mood and our energy.
Patterns of disharmony are perpetuated by what we eat, how we perceive stress, age, genetics and the frequency of our activity. We are a biological organism in continuous communication with nature and her delicate balance of biochemical exchange. The Solar Plexus is truly the “abdominal brain” with its nerve network innervating, communicating and transmitting information in a continuous feedback loop with the brain and organs.
Neurodegenerative diseases are now being viewed as diseases of the microbiome, correlating the prevention and treatment of cognitive disorders, autism and Alzheimers to the imbalance of gut bacteria.
The human body has thousands of controlled functions that are essential to maintaining homeostasis, and trillions of cellular processes organized and maintained by your organs! TCM conceptualizes the body as nature, the microcosm mirroring the great macrocosm. We are subject to the similar rhythms and seasonal changes of nature. The corresponding complexity and interplay with our internal and external environment is uniquely expressed and requires individualized care.
So how can we connect to our Solar Plexus, transform dampness and improve our abdominal brain?
- Breathing from our diaphragm and pelvic floor
2. Abdominal massage and Lymphatic Drainage
3. Herbal Medicine for the internal gardening (transform damp, clear heat etc..)
4. Acupuncture for balancing and re-establishing proprioceptive communication within the celiac ganglia and abdominal organs
5. Yoga spinal twists, Tai Chi “White Tiger” exercise and Healing Frequencies 364Hz
6. Removal of damp causing foods (fried foods, breads, cereals, dairy, cakes, ice cream, sugar, wheat)
7. Addition of foods that transform damp (adzuki beans, jobs tears, ginger, asparagus, dandelion greens, celery, leek, Apple Cider Vinegar)