Secrets to Good Digestion, Part I
Good afternoon! I just got back late Sunday night from my intense internship at Dr. Jimmy Wei-Yin Chang’s office in California.
He is one of the top Chinese herbalists in the world and has been practicing medicine for over 30 years. I certainly got a lot of information from my trip that I will pass along as I see fit.
In doing the Chinese pulse diagnosis, an herbalist starts to notice that there are many similarities and common problems between many people. One thing that Dr. Chang notices in most all of his patients was that they do not chew their food well. Chewing is the first part in the digestive process, and incomplete chewing can lead to many problems: increased appetite (thorough chewing is a natural appetite suppressant), dental problems, gastritis (diarrhea, constipation, heartburn), TMJ, neck problems, headaches, and a “crooked face” are a few.
Some of you are asking “crooked face”? Yes, that’s right! When someone closes their mouth and looks at you straight on, you may notice that the sides of their mouths are not even. Some people’s mouth goes up on the right and some on the left. This is because the higher side is the side that is doing most of the chewing! Over time, “your face will get ugly,” says Dr. Chang (I would never tell a patient they would become ugly!!!). Even more, this unevenness will wear out your teeth and cause neck and shoulder tension and headaches.
The solutions? He recommends everyone chew gum “constantly.” I’m not entirely convinced on this method, but if you have this problem with the “crooked mouth” you could give it a try — or just chew your food slower. He also recommends chewing each bite of food at least 50 times!
J. Nicole Lentfer, L.Ac.