Where Does Fatigue Come From?

When you are chronically fatigued, it may be an indication that the body is not getting the nutrients it needs.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the major role of the Spleen is to transform food and liquids into nutrients, blood and energy, and distribute them to other organs and tissues. This is an enormously difficult task requiring a lot of energy to take place. Therefore, if one is overworked and/or malnourished (not uncommon for the typical person) the Spleen will become deficient and unable to “manufacture” sufficient amount of blood and energy. If this becomes continuous and chronic you may become not only energy deficient but also blood deficient.  

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), fatigue is often attributed to a deficiency in spleen ‘qi’.  If the Spleen is weak then the transportation of fluids may be impaired.  Rather than being dispersed there will be fluid retention referred to as “dampness”.  One of the main symptoms of dampness is edema and will normally begin in the legs or lower extremities first.  The nature of dampness is to slow processes down and to make things sluggish.  A weak Spleen will lead to weak muscles, particularly weak limbs, a sensation of solidity and heaviness of the limbs.  So, it may feel like you are walking around with weights aroun your ankles.

Where else can fatigue come from? A deficiency in spleen ‘qi’ will result in inadequate nourishment for the organs, suppressing their optimal functions, causing you to feel sluggish and tired. This decreased organ function will include your digestion.  The partner organs for the Spleen are the Stomach and Pancreas. Other symptoms of "dampness" are poor energy, poor appetite, sluggishness, gas, bloating, loose stool .... all indications of digestion issues.  This all leads to tiredness, fatigue, lethargy, and poor concentration. 

Poor concentration?  Yes.... the Spleen governs the thought processes such as thinking, concentrating, studying, and focusing.

If your Spleen is healthy you are generally active, practical, and responsible, able to study well and memorize efficiently. If there is an unhealthy Spleen (low "qi") then there is a tendency to have a “busy mind”, over think things and manifest “stuck behavior”.... going over and over the same thought or emotion without the ability to let go.  This "pensiveness" will consume the energy of the Spleen.  How exhausting, not only physically, but also mentally. 

What are signs of an imbalanced Spleen?
  • difficulty concentrating 
  • foggy thinking
  • fatigue
  • lessening or lack of appetite
  • changes in bowel movements
  • flabby muscle tone
  • easily bruised
  • women - heavy menstruation
  • slow wound healing
  • excessive worrying or ruminating
  • sense of anxiety
  • lack of motivation
  • sense of heaviness in the body
  • difficulty losing weight
  • gas and bloating
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • thick, greasy tongue coating
  • distinctive "teeth" imprints on edges of tongue
Other symptoms can include: 
  • ravenous appetite
  • nosebleeds
  • bleeding from gums
  • acid reflux/heart burn
  • cramping after eating
What to do?
Examine your diet and eating habits:
  • Reduce intake of dairy, processed foods, alcohol, sugars and sweeteners
  • Examine your eating habits
  • eating at different times each day
  • skipping meals
  • eating late
  • eating too much
  • eating too much fried and greasy foods
  • posture while eating (hunched over while watching TV?)
  • over studying, thinking or analyzing (energy spent in the brain is less energy for the rest of the organs)
  • lack of exercise and relaxation
If you had a stone in your shoe and just kept walking, day after day.... what would happen?  The stone starts out as a minor irritation.  However, left unattended, that small irritation would get bigger and eventually cause your knees or hips or back to start aching.  The situation would not get better until the source of the problem, the rock, was given some attention and removed.

When there are imbalances within your body organs and systems it is difficult to heal without proper digestion.  Attention must be given to the digestive system.  If this post resonates with your current health situation, consider examining what diet and lifestyle changes could be made.  

Knowing where to start can definitely be a process, however, my free guide can help you with lifestyle changes and figuring out your triggers. 

Some people do better talking things through.  If this is you, I invite you to check my calendar for a free 30 min chat session. 

Check out some of my other resources HERE and learn more about how to enjoy life despite stressors.