Episode Three: Don’t Fear Your Appetites

Episode 3 has arrived, ready for you to digest!  The Stomach channel is the next stop on our journey through the body, in this episode we talk about digestion from the start of the cycle, as well as how our emotions and desires play into physical and metaphoric appetites and digestion.

Music by Purple Fluorite (Bandcamp // Soundcloud)

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[Music starts]

Billy:
Healing with Raymond and Billy.

Raymond:
Healing with Raymond and Billy.

Billy:
Healing with Raymond and Billy.

Raymond:
Healing with Raymond and Billy.

Billy:
Healing with Raymond and Billy.

Raymond:
All right. Episode 3. We are at Episode 3 which is … this episode is all about the Stomach meridian. We’ve moved out of Metal and away from long and Large Intestine and now, we’re into the Earth element. By the way, I guess the intro to the podcast, so you’re listening to Healing with Raymond and Billy which you probably figured out because I say that a lot. Well, we both say it in our intro. I don’t know, I just had this dream when we were making this podcast. I was like, our intro is just going to be us, like echo-y saying over and over again.

Raymond:
I think I really loved how just on the nose the title of the show was. I was like, I can’t come up with anything other than just … It’s Raymond and Billy, two cute QTs talking QT health.

Billy:
It’s so cute.

Raymond:
So today, we’re talking about the Stomach, and I was wanting … thinking a little bit back to that first episode so long ago when you did … we were talking about the hero’s journey and we did the little … how energy moves through the body, through the meridians.

Billy:
Yeah.

Raymond:
Would you go back and explain again where our Stomach fits into the puzzle of that? You don’t have to tell the full story, but just touch on Stomach again.

Billy:
Yeah. So basically, in the whole wheel of the hero’s journey which if you look up the monomyth, you’ll see like a nice breakdown of it. It’s a wheel, and the wheel is … the wheel goes round and round and as you move along the wheel, you encounter various aspects to that journey. So with the first part of the journey, you’re in the normal world where you just … it’s like the day to day kind of superficial life that we all have where we wake up, we eat our breakfast, we go to work, we go to sleep, we have sex, we may not, we are experiencing different events in life. It’s just the normal kind of life.

Billy:
And then at a certain point, you get inspiration to start the journey and that’s where the lung comes in and the large intestine. It’s that metal energy of what new adventure am I being called to and what do I need to let go of here in this waking reality to follow that inspiration? And that’s very metal. And then after metal, you move into this earth aspect which is about what transformations I’m about to go through and how I process those transformations and am able to use those along my journey.

Billy:
So this kind of idea of assimilation and transformation and that’s where the Stomach and the spleen come in is that they’re all about taking those nutrients, breaking them down, making them easily assimilated for your body to be able to turn into gifts or energy, things that you need for your journey.

Raymond:
Right.

Billy:
So that’s that kind of … that setup for where we are currently in our healer’s journey along that pathway.

Raymond:
Yes. So last week, we talked about the end of the digestive process with the large intestine and the letting go, but the Stomach is about that first … it’s about like our appetite and our taking in of food qi and digesting foods and liquids, the extraction and assimilation. And there’s that … Isn’t it energetically I feel like Stomach is also about moving energy in our body downward, right? So if you think about it like the way we swallow in our food and moving down into the Stomach, so it’s about how moving in that direction.

Raymond:
There’s a relationship there with the lung too because the Stomach does some sort of … it does sorting of a lot of our nutrients as well which I think is really cool. They’re like neural receptors in our Stomach that sort determine what we’ve eaten and what parts are carbs and what parts are protein and what parts are fats and sugars. And then it releases the correct enzymes to help extract the nutrient out of that.

Raymond:
So the Stomach has a little bit of the pre-sifting and sorting relationship to small intestine in a way, right, because it helps make those … it helps extract out the nutrients which then sends down to the small intestine which does another more intensely, well, sifting and sorting which is a preview of a future episode. We talk about small intestine. But I think we’re just going to keep talking about the relationship to all these meridians and organs in the body because they all interact with each other.

Raymond:
And the Stomach especially, I feel like it has so many different effects on all the different meridians. And in fact, Arthur-some … is there like a school of acupuncture or sort of a style of … or famous acupuncturists that pretty much, all they treat is the Stomach meridian? Do you know about this, Billy?

Billy:
Yeah. There’s the earth schools where they say that the earth is the center of the whole … of any kind of disease within the body.

Raymond:
Right.

Billy:
So the Stomach and the Spleen become this kind of focus of their work that if you have something that’s maybe with a Lung, then they’ll focus on treating the Spleen Stomach meridians in order to impact the Lung in that way. So that’s interesting because there’s different schools that teach different ways of doing it and they’re like hardcore with the herbs. There’s herbs that are specific to those school, that chain of thought and that were developed through in those schools. I think it was from the Yellow Emperor’s time actually that that really became super popular.

Raymond:
Yeah. I remember reading about it, like that sort of … my light Chinese medicine education I got in shiatsu school. I’ll be interested and I read different articles and stuff. When I came across that concept, I remember it being an interesting one to really just see … At first, it seems a little oppressive to me as a treatment style to only focus on one thing. But I also appreciate the simplicity of it and also, the sort of idea of that.

Raymond:
You can reach any part of the body through the single meridian because there’s certain points along the channel to that or that sort of … they have names or they have functions that connect them very specifically. So there’s like the Lung point on the Stomach channel or I guess I should say the Metal point. So there’s always different names that come up with that as well. I should do my awkward … Let’s explain where the Stomach meridian is. Although I’m a little bit more prepared this time because I actually looked at a photo before we started talking.

Raymond:
I don’t know why I never thought to do that the last two times we did this. I just felt the need to show off my fuzzy memory! I don’t know. So anyway, the Stomach actually starts right below the center of your eyeball. So that’s Stomach one. Is that the bright eye point? Is that what it’s called, or is that bladder? That’s called bright eye? I can’t remember.

Billy:
I think it’s Bladder.

Raymond:
I don’t know. I’m not an acupuncturist! But anyway, so Stomach starts right … I think of it as like that sensitive part of your eye socket right in the middle. And then it goes down the center of your face. It comes into the corner of your mouth and also … so it runs down bilaterally. So it’s obviously happening on both side. It’s not like the Stomach channel is just on your left side. So you have a Stomach channel on your left and your right side.

Raymond:
So you’re tracing down, come to the corner of the mouth and then it zooms out to the corner of your jawline and then it comes up by your ear to the top of your head. I was really fascinating look like when I was looking at this picture before talking today and I was like, oh man, I definitely have some Stomach issue. I work on a lot of imbalances and nice stuff and related to things about jaw pain or sinus pain or headaches and stuff like that.

Raymond:
So when I was looking at that channel and thinking about how sometimes I do … I am prone to TMJ pain and a lot of that is about Stomach is a lot about … there’s the digestion of food but indigestion of life and people which is a little bit like what Billy was talking about at the beginning like … or digesting the things in our life and how are we going to assimilate and move forward? But if you are overdoing it, then one of the things that’s also associated with the Earth element and Stomach is worry.

Raymond:
So it’s like you’re chewing on things and you’re chewing on that gristle. So that definitely, it sounds like, that makes sense that that TMJ pain that was … runs right up to that Stomach channel and then … So it comes up to the top of your … I feel like your hairline dips in so not the center of your head but that sort of part near the top. And then it shoots through your head, right, and comes out your neck? Is that what happens?

Raymond:
So it comes out … Yeah, because it’s like Stomach nine is at the top of your head and then Stomach whatever is on your neck. So it comes down if you put like a finger, three inches to the left and right of your windpipe, so not the center of your neck, just right down the middle. It comes down to your collarbone and then it does … it shoots out a little bit. So it’s almost like running down the … If you have run a center line down your chest and then run a line splitting each half in half, that feels a little bit like where it comes down on your ribcage as it go right through the nipple or just middle of that.

Raymond:
And then you cut a little bit closer down to the center of your belly and almost near the edge of your groin. And then does it go internal and come out again or a little bit or is it just kind of scoot?

Billy:
It just jumps down.

Raymond:
Yeah. So like almost right through your quad. So it follows your femur essentially but the way that our bodies are shaped … Sometimes, when I was in shiatsu school, I always felt like people were working the Stomach meridian like too much on top of the thigh. I feel like it’s a little bit off center, like where the meat of your bone is. It runs through your knee and then my favorite point, Stomach 36, the way I always … you can find it on your self is if you run your fingers to the outer edge below your kneecap so it’s like the top of your tibia bone if you know where that is.

Raymond:
But if you don’t, you can just lift your toes up and down and you’ll feel this little muscle head pulsate. And that … where that bulging muscle is, it gives you a good point to feel around where Stomach 36 is. Leg Three Mile which is named as such because the idea is that if you’re low on energy, you can tap stimulate and energize that point and it will give you the energy to run another three miles. I was all like, I don’t know if I can run three miles the first time, but let’s see.

Billy:
Right.

Raymond:
I can walk it. I can walk it. I can walk a long way but anyway. So it goes down that sort front side of your shin and then again, there’s a point, right, at the center top of your ankle. I use that point a lot too. I don’t know why. Like you pick up a technique and you use it for like five million clients and then all of a sudden, you’re like, I wonder where I got that tip from. I don’t know. But I think it’s Stomach 41. Is that the one that’s like right in that divot at the top of your ankle, right?

Billy:
Yeah.

Raymond:
But for me, I use that … I think I use that … Sometimes, I feel like in shiatsu, I’m working the meridian, it’s a little bit like a battery. So you know what I mean? Like there’s a positive and negative so I might find two spots and then put my hand on each one and run energy between the two. But I feel like that Stomach 41 is one if I’m working like some of the Sinew meridian connections anyway, sorry, now I’m talking to Billy! I’m like, da-da-da talking shop. Okay so Stomach channel goes along top of your foot and it ends at your second toe.

[both laugh]

Billy:
That’s great.

Raymond:
I don’t know if looking at a photo helped Billy Janes.

Billy:
I think it really-

Raymond:
Just made it different.

Billy:
Exactly. It did.

Raymond:
Okay, so the Stomach as you can tell, generally runs down the front of your body and it gives you … if you think about it, it’s what pulls you forward through life. So your bladder meridian is behind you, giving you … pushing energy but your Stomach, I feel comes from the front because it’s about your own appetites, like what’s driving you forward, right? And that way.

Billy:
I like that.

Raymond:
The Stomach time is 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M. which makes sense because that’s like the first … your first meal of the day should happen. You wake up in that time and that’s when the digestive juices get going. You wake up and the, excuse me, the large intestine time is 5:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M. So you wake up, you have your bowel movement and then you go make breakfast. So that’s the sort of inner body clock that’s following.

Billy:
That’s great. I love how you looked at the body clock times.

Raymond:
Yeah. Yeah, because I think that’s also how I think about it. You were talking about the sort of … That’s what made me think about the hero’s journey is that I was also just thinking about the sort of the body clock.

Billy:
Yeah.

Raymond:
So what are some of the common imbalances we can have in our Stomach meridian?

Billy:
Well, I think the way that I think about the Stomach, we talk about the physical organ itself and then this kind of meridian or track line that we use to connect with the Stomach in some kind of way and I think a lot of people are like KWTF, like how … You know what I mean?

Raymond:
Yeah.

Billy:
What does have to do with your eye?

Raymond:
Yeah.

Billy:
What does it have to do with my breakfast?

Raymond:
What does Raymond’s TMJ have to do with this? Yeah.

Billy:
Where has this conversation gone? I think like we’ve talked about in other episodes, and hopefully you’ve listened to all of them because they’re all super profound and good.

Raymond:
Who sponsored that part of the podcast??

Billy:
But I think the idea is that we have connective tissue among other things, nerves and different aspects like that that … through our body that communicate. Fascia is all over our body, wraps through … around our organs and if you’re able to communicate with one part of the body, it can light up other parts of your body, communicate with those parts, change the fascia and also, turn on the brain in different parts as well.

Billy:
Really, that connects you in between the body and the organs and also, the mind is accessible through these different acupuncture points.

Raymond:
Yeah.

Billy:
So when we’re talking about how the meridian relates to the organs and different patterns, we’re talking about how the fascia and the surrounding organs and the body respond to different imbalances related to that organ and also, how it moves or is nourished or not nourished or different things like that. So when we talk for example about having a nervous Stomach, in Chinese medicine, a lot of the times, what we talk about is someone whose Liver is overacting on the Stomach or your nervous system is so uptight.

Billy:
You have so much stress going on that your Stomach gets really nervous and that you can get some epigastric discomfort, you can get vomiting, you can get all of these kind of uneasy kind of symptoms mostly in the epigastric region or near the heart. So you might think of gird for example or gastroesophageal reflux disease. But really, the physiological idea behind it is that if you have fascial restrictions around the Stomach, the Stomach isn’t able to properly swing and that’s one of the things that I think is surprising to people is that the Stomach, like a lot of your organs, they need to move.

Billy:
They need to be softened and supple and able to swing. And the Stomach one such organ that swings from side to side. So if you have any kind of fascial restrictions in your abdomen, possibly from a surgery or an injury that happened, these kind of patterns can start ricocheting through the body and then stop the natural movement which then can affect these meridians and then cause these kinds of strange phenomenon that we might think are completely unrelated but are absolutely related to these fascial restrictions or what we might say blockages in the meridian.

Billy:
So that is one of them is like this kind of nervous Stomach Liver overacting on the spleen. But there is also other ones like what we might call, throwing up or nausea. And in Chinese medicine, we call that rebellious qi.

Raymond:
Yes. My gosh, that’s my favorite.

Billy:
What?

Raymond:
I just love that phrase when I was totally thinking about it while you were talking about it as far as like rebellious Stomach qi.

Billy:
I thought you loved it like you loved having it?

Raymond:
No. No, I do not love having it. I definitely have it but I love it as a term.

Billy:
Okay.

Raymond:
And I think because I was thinking about … like earlier, I talked about Stomach directing energy down, and I think that’s what I was thinking in my head was that I was starting that idea that Stomach’s job is to direct energy down. So when we have things of energy coming up, so we’re burping or we’re having the acid reflux or we’re having nausea and vomiting, things are going in the wrong direction. So I like the idea of like, oh no, it also feels less judgmental, then saying toxic qi. I’m like, it’s just rebellious. You can’t hold that qi down!

Billy:
The rebellion.

Raymond:
Right. Totally because there is like … you do have to have that conversation I think with yourself all the time and with your body. And I think someone who has frequently had a fraught and antagonistic relationship to my body because I think being a trans person, right, you are told for a very long time starting at a very early age that you do not know your body. So that’s like unintentional brainwashing – or intentional, whatever. It happens. Whether it’s done out of love or malice, it’s happening, right?

Raymond:
And the effect of that is that as we get older, we have to work through those messages and learn to trust ourselves and trust what we know about our body. So I think for … One of the things that, for me, because I had to navigate … For so long, I’ve had to navigate my own advocate for myself when I was going into a doctor’s office and really go in with like shields up, like here’s the situation, be prepared for what they’re going to say, be prepared to educate them. I go in.

Raymond:
And I also know it makes me seem really like clearheaded and smart and he knows what he’s doing so I’ll also get treated better, like making sure I perform in a way in the doctor’s office so that I get seen and understood and quality and all that stuff. Quality treatment. So in a way that like it did gives me confidence because it did help me have to advocate for myself and learn about what my body is.

Raymond:
But then now, I feel like I’m at the stage where it’s hard for me to go to … I go to the doctor and they serve a purpose, but I’m definitely one of those people that’s like, I’m going to get eight more opinions because … There are a lot of doctors who know a lot of things more than me but … I don’t think there’s a lot of doctors that know more about my body than I know about my body. Does that make sense?

Billy:
Absolutely.

Raymond:
So obviously, they can … I’m also talking about just more of the general doctor you go to. That’s probably always been my struggle is to find a great primary kind of doctor. And I think probably most people have to struggle. I’m not that special in that sense, but there is that other layer when you’re a trans person and a queer person and things like that. So anyway, coming back to the Stomach, there’s also this idea of trusting your gut, right? And that even starts with sort of that idea.

Raymond:
And looking at it as sort of a barometer of things that could go off in your body like Billy was talking about. And I do definitely … Probably the main questions I ask every client every time I see them, it’s like, “How is your digestion? How is your sleep and how is your appetite?”, because that makes a difference too especially if someone is going … if they’re grieving something or if they’re stressed with something, I want to know are they remembering to eat? Are they eating enough protein? Are they feeling the sensation of hunger? Are they maybe eating a lot of stuff that’s making them feel bad about themselves? Are they giving themselves some sort of message?

Raymond:
The other messages that I do a lot of unpacking around appetite is that I was raised by relatively conservative southern Christian baby boomers and they have that … white folks who have that strong puritan base of like, you don’t eat too much, and like a lot of judgment and judgment about fatness and eating too much.

Billy:
Yeah.

Raymond:
But then also, they come from a … they’re one generation up from the farm and from poverty, excuse me, so I’m sure there’s also that scarcity, starvation thing mixed in with like judgment about eating too much. So I didn’t grow up feeling like my appetites and what I loved and what I wanted to do deserved to be centered or really listened to, you know what I mean?

Billy:
Yeah.

Raymond:
They’re just sort of maybe a preference on the side, but they’re not that important, right? Yeah. So I interrupted. You were talking about Rebellious Stomach Qi. Let’s maybe go back to what are some of the other different ways that it shows up in the body like imbalances in the Stomach?

Billy:
I’m still thinking about what you just said.

Raymond:
Sorry. You take either baton and run with it. I love that, I’m like, I’m going to go deep into some of my work around trauma and then now, “let’s go back to rebellious Stomach qi. Isn’t that phrase great?”

Billy:
I think what you said really hit me in a way too because I feel like for me, I didn’t really ever know how to feel and so this idea of having a gut, having some sense of self to connect to to be able to say, “I’m having a sensory experience inside of myself”, what is that? I was not even aware of things happening within my body. And I think a large part for me has been about finding my gut.

Raymond:
Yeah.

Billy:
Like becoming connected with, okay, let’s close out what’s happening in the outside world and let’s go back in and let’s feel what I’m … what am I feeling, because I think in a certain way, when you have to survive, feeling is a luxury.

Raymond:
Yeah.

Billy:
And it’s not something that you really want to do because you have to do what you have to do to get through and so why feel that?

Raymond:
Yeah.

Billy:
And I think after a while, reconnecting of myself with my … the emotions that are inside of myself, it’s like this vast endless universe inside of myself but finding some sort of location to hold on to this idea of like, okay, if I can place some kind of feeling inside of myself in some location, then I can build up an idea of the constellations of my emotions and what they mean. So I feel like the Stomach, even in our language, how much we place on our gut and our nervous Stomach or how something just doesn’t sit right for us.

Billy:
And also, how a lot of times, we … our emotional states when we get really upset, it can cause us to vomit.

Raymond:
Yeah.

Billy:
Just that whole experience of the connectedness between that. It’s just what you said really made me think about that and like how that is so much an important part of how we experience the world because we experience the world through our mouth so much.

Raymond:
Right. Right. Yeah.

Billy:
So that idea that some things can just be really difficult to digest.

Raymond:
Right. And they might take a really long time to digest too, right? Yeah.

Billy:
And they might get really rotten and they may taste really bad.

Raymond:
Right.

Billy:
There’s like that whole aspect of that process of digestion. So that just made me think a lot about those ideas of how our emotions and how they’re related to your bodies and how our bodies naturally react and how those can be like … if we are having some kind of physical response, it’s a good idea. It doesn’t necessarily mean that our … that we have because we’re having these physical responses that is necessarily related to some sort of … I think I hear a lot of people oversimplify that you have been repressing your anger for all these years that’s why you have cancer.

Raymond:
Yeah.

Billy:
Or you’ve been doing this for so long that’s why you have that. So that’s not the message that either of us are saying but I think what we’re saying-

Raymond:
No.

Billy:
Yeah. I think what we’re saying is that the idea that we can be able to use our relationship to our emotions as what’s happening with our body as kind of indicators of what can be going on and how we can work with those energies and those emotions to use it as a transformational mode of experience.

Raymond:
Right. And like about giving a sort of vocabulary to have communication with the body and to find out what’s going on and what we need in the moment.

Billy:
Yes.

Raymond:
I was thinking back about how if we are in a state, in states of extreme stress, we’re giving off a lot of those stress hormones as well. And what happens just from sort of a biomechanical point of view, that’s also why like our appetite will frequently shut down. If we’re constantly shooting off all those stress hormones, our bodies were designed to … If we need to protect ourselves, if we are in danger, then they’re going to shut down the nonessential organs and send energy and blood to other places.

Raymond:
So for example, your body is going to be like drop digesting the pizza, we got to run away from this, whatever. So that’s some of what’s happening too is that if you’re … we’re constantly inducing these types of stress responses that are sort of fight, flight, freeze, those same situations, that’s part of why it’s hard for us to eat lunch after we’ve had a fight with a loved one or a boss yelled at us or if we’re worried about a project, all that stuff or whatever. Yeah.

Billy:
Yeah. And that’s like exactly why when we talk about the digestive process, we’re also talking about this kind of easing the amount of stress so that things can have a free flow.

Raymond:
Yeah.

Billy:
And this idea of we haven’t talked about the Liver yet specifically but the Liver has an energetic function where when stress happens, the Liver … the roots of a tree just grabs into the earth and tries to choke it for nutrients. The Earth is like the Spleen Stomach. So when you feel that kind of wrenching feeling, that’s that Liver Wood energy going in there causing those contractions and that kind of grabbing kind of feeling, that stagnation.

Billy:
So a lot of what we do with our work is we try to work to calm the nervous system and the various ways you do that, you can do that with getting bodywork, shiatsu acupuncture. You can also address it through the mind as well like with doing guided meditations, tinyurl.com\anxietymeditation.

Raymond:
That’s just a free meditation that we plugged in the first one. We’re going to circle back to that. It’s not going to take you to any site where you are on a subscription pill buying program or something like that.

Billy:
That’s a brilliant idea.

Raymond:
Oh man. Oh capitalism.

Billy:
So that was a free link to UCLA guided meditation. But there’s also other apps but you have to have a smartphone for … But you can download those links and you can play them anywhere you want. You can burn them to a CD if you’re into that or put them on a tape.

Raymond:
If you’re into that vintage sound, you could burn them on a CD. Oh man.

Billy:
Put it on your 8-track.

Raymond:
I like that. While you were talking, I was just sipping on my icy beverage whichever made me think about how cold drinks are actually not good for the Stomach. But I was thinking about that today because I definitely … it’s something that I’m aware of and if you have ever … this totally happened to me when I was a kid, when I was like some … I think I was doing yardwork or was that a soccer camp or something where I was young and being in the sun for too long and running and working too hard? And then I was really thirsty and I chugged a ton of really cold water. And then I got this really intense stomach cramp.

Raymond:
So it was one of those things that … I remember at the time, everyone was all like, I don’t know, like no one … I think it’s one of those things that like I sometimes had some bodily experiences like that as a kid. I would experience something like that. Whenever I talk about it, people would just be like shrug and act like I hadn’t said anything. So I was like, that’s weird. No one has any explanation for it? But also, we’re just going to be like, I don’t know what that is. Bodies are weird. I feel like I got that … it’s like my arm hurts when I do that. ‘Well, then don’t do that.’

Raymond:
I feel like that sort of approach was given to me a lot as a kid. And I get it. Kids say weird shit. Like now as an adult, I get it. But also, it’s funny when you have that sort of memory and then years later, I remember being in shiatsu school and now, the teacher is talking about … But in Chinese medicine, you drink room temperature water. It’s not just Chinese medicine, it’s also … it’s other cultural people do but room temperature water is much more popular in Europe for example than in the states.

Raymond:
But the idea of that is that our bodies can absorb room temperature water at a faster rate and that the icy water does sort of seize up our insides a little bit. Obviously, right now, I’m doing it intentionally. I wanted to have … I wanted to drink … I wanted to have a drink that I was drinking slowly. So now, I play with the principle. So it’s not that I’ve given up, I see beverages per se, it’s just more that when I’m hydrating or I always make sure I have like … Usually, I’m drinking a room temperature glass of water and then if I have some sort of drink with flavor, I might put it over ice or something like that. So I’m mixing it.

Raymond:
And the Stomach in general likes to have … If you eat too many cold things or raw things, it can be hard on your Stomach as well because your Stomach basically has to heat up both metaphorically and physically speaking to cook everything you’re putting down in there. So if you give your Stomach a nice beautiful bowl of cooked vegetable soup, man, you’ve already started so much of the process to helping your body to break it down.

Raymond:
So it can really get to the sifting and separating out and sending down to the spleen and what not, whereas if you eat a big salad, that’s going to have to hang out in your Stomach for longer as it breaks down and massages it down. The other thing that’s good to be aware of, and I totally remember my dad being like, “Chew your food”. I was a teenager like inhaling or whatever, or like, “You should stop”, and whatever, da-da-da.

Raymond:
And of course you don’t listen because you’re a surly teenager and then years later, I was thinking about that. There is ways that you can help. If you are someone that’s having sluggish digestion, that is something that if you really make sure you’re chewing a lot because what that does is it starts to give signals to your body as well. So not only are you physically breaking it down with your teeth into smaller pieces so your Stomach doesn’t have to work so hard, but you’re giving more time for your brain to send all the neurochemicals down to your digestive system to get them ready.

Raymond:
So if you only are just chewing, chewing twice, your brain probably hasn’t even kicked anything down. But if you actually chew things, what’s the right … Is there some magical number that you were taught in school of how many times you’re supposed to chew your food? Like some magic, I don’t know.

Billy:
I’m sure there was.

Raymond:
Fifty to 100, 30 to 1,000, I don’t know.

Billy:
Yeah.

Raymond:
There’s probably some reason about it, about like moving heaven and earth by number 33 or something like that.

Billy:
Totally. Totally.

Raymond:
Yeah. Just do it, I don’t know, more than 10 times, I feel like.

Billy:
Yeah. Let’s say chew more than once.

Raymond:
I know, right? Thirty-three or four. See how that goes. I don’t know.

Billy:
That’s my speed. I really should chew more.

Raymond:
Yeah. I should chew. That’s a good quote. I should chew more. I really should chew more. But yeah.

Billy:
Well, that’s a wrap. You really covered everything that I’ve written down to ever talk about. You said the salad, you said the sifts-

Raymond:
The cold [crosstalk 00:38:00] yeah. Warm, warm stuff.

Billy:
Yeah. Are we going to do-

Raymond:
Yes.

[Music theme starts.]

Billy:
Billy’s herbal corner?

[Music ends.]

Raymond:
So Billy, what herbs do you recommend for the Stomach?

Billy:
Okay. So when people talk a lot about having nausea or lack of appetite, I’ll recommend that they smell some patchouli.

Raymond:
Okay. Say more. Does it have to … like the essential oil or the plant?

Billy:
Yeah. Yeah. The essential oil, yeah.

Raymond:
Okay. Okay.

Billy:
It’s not my favorite smell.

Raymond:
I live near Ashville so it can be intense sometimes.

Billy:
Yeah. Yeah, and that’s I think why I’m not such a big fan of it. I think I’ve probably grown … grew up with quite a bit of the patchouli hippy smell and I just, but when I realized it has some medicinal value, that’s when I was like, damn, I could really use that.

Raymond:
Yeah.

Billy:
So I think the value of it is like if you are, let’s say you’re really depressed and you’re not able to digest life because shit is hard, before you set a meal before yourself that’s easy to digest like some soup or Top Ramen or whatever it is-

Raymond:
Right. Whatever it is.

Billy:
Whatever it is, some rice, take a little bit of patchouli and, the patchouli oil and just take a little sniff. And then the idea is that your gastric juices start getting a little hungry and then you get a little appetite and then you can start eating. So that’s that. And then also for people who have issues with acid regurgitation, like it feels like some of the acid comes up their throat, dandelion root tincture has been known to be helpful for that. You take it about 30 minutes. Take a few drops of it before … 30 minutes before meal and then you eat that meal and you see how you do.

Billy:
And then you may need to increase the amount of the tincture or decrease it or maybe instead, have the tea or look at something else. But that’s one line of something that you can try for that.

Raymond:
Yeah. I’ve had good luck with a version of that. It was a tincture that my herbalist basically called like an herbal antacid sort of thing but it was essentially … I think it was dandelion and catnip and licorice. So it was that … the bitter herb thing that sort of-

Billy:
Yeah.

Raymond:
The way you were talking about that gets our … it’s a digestive. It gets our body to start to kick things off. One of my random things I remember learning in school was if you don’t have an appetite in the morning when you wake up to eat five strawberries. That was the food prescription. Just five strawberries.

Billy:
Interesting.

Raymond:
Yeah. And there was a time when I had these dried strawberries that I had gotten from … there’s the Seattle Farmers Market at Pike’s Market. There’s like the one place in the country I’ve ever had these amazing dried strawberries but it was really helpful and it actually worked even with the dried fruit version.

Billy:
Wow.

Raymond:
So Stomach does have those sweet tendencies so I think for my acid reflux, when that is causing me to not have an appetite, that’s when I definitely go for more the bitter herbs. But if I just have like maybe a leaden Stomach or a numb Stomach, then sometimes, I find like a little bit of that sweetness and I don’t know what it is about strawberries but it does help get the juices flowing as they say.

Billy:
That’s a really great tip. I really like how you said like the leaden Stomach versus the other kind of Stomach in a different direction you go with that, that’s a really good differentiation.

Raymond:
Yeah. And my other thing that I do is … for myself is I do abdominal massage with a little bit of lavender essential oil. Sometimes, if you know that you can roll with lavender oil, you can put a couple of drops directly on but also, you’re always supposed to do with carrier oil, lotion and all that stuff too. So I’ve been moving a little bit away from some direct … like essential oil is I went a little wild with them and then I started to realize that they’re really pretty potent and they really are maybe doing stuff that shouldn’t be too like loosey goosey with.

Raymond:
I don’t know where all these funny things are coming from! Just really to say is that like I’ve only studied a little bit from essential oils, right, but I do love using them like how you’re suggesting where like there’s so many times I use them, I just open the bottle and sniff them. You know what I mean? I don’t need so much, I think for a while, I was like diffusing them and doing this or whatever, but that also can be problematic because a lot of people are scent sensitive or they might … they maybe don’t need lavender and that’s bad for their system but you’ve blown out your treatment room with your essential oil diffuser or whatever.

Raymond:
So I do think there’s a lot of times people do the well-meaning, like trying to create … trying to start the healing but permuting the air with things. But yeah, I’ve been moving away from that a little bit because I feel like that’s maybe not the most … creating the most open environment for all the people I want to come to my space. But right in your home, you can smell it up like patchouli all you want.

Billy:
Yes, exactly.

Raymond:
All right. Stomach meridian. We can probably pick it up next episode when we also … I want to talk about Earth a little bit more, just the Earth element but we’ll talk about the element next week when we talk about … or the next episode when we talk about Spleen which is the other half of the Earth element. Does that sound good?

Billy:
That sounds perfect.

Raymond:
Awesome. All right. Any other words of wisdom you want to add before we fade out?

Billy:
Have a wonderful day.

Raymond:
Same to you and same to everyone listening. Seriously though, thank you for listening. I know that an hour-long podcast is a lot so I hope that you’re getting a lot of content and enjoying this. We’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions or if you have questions about anything we say. I know sometimes we probably popcorn around and we might not fully go into a subject or explain things as thoroughly as you maybe want to to get the information you need, so drop us a line is all I’m trying to say.

Billy:
Yeah. I think we would love to do like a Q&A session at some point, episode.

Raymond:
Yeah, that would be really fun.

Billy:
Yeah.

Raymond:
So healingwithraymondandbilly.com is a little website I put up and I’ve put all the links to the different episodes, but there’s also … I think our emails or contact form or something like that so you can find us there. It’s the best way to do it. I’m also at mountainzenshiatsu.com and my email is mountainzenshiatsu@gmail.com. So if you are ever in Western North Carolina and want to book a session, I also teach workshops in Chicago at my school, Zen Shiatsu Chicago. So if you are in Chicago, be on the lookout for me there. I’m there twice a year.

Raymond:
And Billy Janes, where can you be found on the interwebs?

Billy:
info@janesacupuncture.com.

Raymond:
janesacupuncture.com.

Billy:
Yes.

Raymond:
Janes as in Billy Janes. J-A-N-E-S. All right. Awesome. We will see you all next episode. Thanks for listening.

Billy:
Thank you.

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