By Dr. Hyun K. Lee

Contributing Writer

So, what’s so special about your digestive system? Everything! 

Let’s start at the beginning. According to Oriental medicine, when babies are born, they are born with energy that we term “original energy,” which is inherited from both of its parents. If the parents donated strong energy to their child, it lasts for some time and that person feels as though they always have energy to spare. 

As time marches on, the child grows into an adult, and sooner or later it begins to notice a bit of a slowing down. This is when the secondary, or “support energy” becomes more valuable. Support energy is obtained through your digestive system and created by the foods you eat. The better the foods, the better energy you have. This support energy “charges” your original energy and keeps you going throughout the years. 

Using a car as an analogy, your original energy would be the battery and your support energy, the alternator. The battery itself has energy, but only a certain amount, and if it is drained it will no longer function. The alternator then serves as its charging system, generating electricity that is used both to make the car run and feed the battery power. It converts mechanical energy (food) into alternating current (energy). Ideally, the better foods you eat, the better your “car” will run.

If you exist, as most people, mindless to their body’s functions and needs, and feed yourself poorly with diets low in nutrients and rich in chemicals and other man-made ingredients, expect your body to run at far less capacity, with lots of problems, and limited longevity. 

Like any systematic function, problems can occur. The digestive system frequently sees blockages and a generally weak function. When one has a blockage, the area down the middle of the chest hurts when pressed on firmly. 

Acupuncture and herbs serve to eliminate the blockage and return the system to its proper state. Those persons who have a generally weak digestive system feel weak and as though they can’t eat a lot. These people can’t absorb the proper essence from the foods they do eat. Problems like these are treated with acupuncture and herbs by helping support the function.

To maintain good digestion, there are some simple things to keep in mind. Eating the proper constitutional foods is key. Give your body the foods it needs to run optimally. Chewing what you eat thoroughly is important, too — each bite 100 times. Thorough chewing is the beginning of the digestive process. It not only breaks down the food, but it also sends messages to your brain and thusly to other organs telling them “Hey, food’s coming! Prepare!” and informing them how much bile, insulin and enzymes it needs to output to process and distribute the nutrients of that particular food you’re eating. 

When we go decades not chewing our foods properly, the organs don’t know the exact amounts they need to produce, so they will over or under produce, eventually making them stressed. Over time, this can lead to problems like diabetes and gallstones. Eating on a daily schedule is also beneficial to easing the stress of your organs. If your body knows when to expect food and always receives it at that expected time, your organs work at a steady, stress-free pace. The last key to good digestion is paying attention. Learn which foods make you feel great, which make you feel sluggish, and in what quantities your body functions best. 

Your original energy is made to last roughly 100 years. The better you charge that battery over the years, the better and longer it will run. Remember, good digestion and a proper diet is not just key in maintaining good energy, but also important to keeping you free of disease and other medical problems. Being mindful of what your body needs will keep you on the path to health, happiness, and longevity.

Dr. Lee’s office is located in the Viborg Medical Center, 2030 Viborg Road, Suite #107, Solvang. The clinic is held every Wednesday only. Dr. Lee also has offices in Los Angeles, and Atascadero. To make an appointment in the Solvang office, call 805-693-5162.