The Large Intestine is the Great Eliminator

large intestine
large intestine


I often share a lot about nutrition but today I want to reach into my acupuncture background and share a bit about the Large Intestine. The large intestine is considered the great eliminator in Chinese medicine. It gets rid of the least valuable thing, like the dregs left in a container. Do you ever get to the last sip of something and just dump it out? I do that when I’m drinking Kombucha. There’s that last little bit, the dregs, that I dump out. Well, the large intestine is like that.


Physical level

On the physical level, the large intestine or colon is the last part of the digestive tract. Water is absorbed from your good waste before it heads on out of your body. When your colon is out of balance you may experience constipation, diarrhea, colon cancer, polyps, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).


You might be surprised to hear that there is also a host of other symptoms that you may not think could be connected to your bowels. Do you ever have: fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, sinus problems, headaches, sleep problems, weight gain, PMS, or skin problems (like eczema, acne, rashes, or psoriasis)?


Well, think about it this way. Your colon is meant to eliminate toxins and if it’s not doing its job well, you’re going to feel it in more areas than just your belly. If toxins/waste remain in your colon, it will just fester and decay. That is why having 1-3 bowel movements per day is extremely important. If this is not the case for you, it could be a lack of water or fiber. I would suggest starting with increasing your water intake and then eating more veggies.


The paired organ to the colon is the lung. These 2 systems comprise the metal element. The lung’s function is to receive pure and fresh air while the colon’s function is to eliminate the waste. Every breath is taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Think of it this way, every breath is taking in and then letting go. The colon, too, must let go.


Mental level

In 5 Element Acupuncture, we address the mind, body, and spirit. What I was just talking about was the body level, now how about the mind or mental level. If your mind is clear of pollution, it is empty or pure like an infant’s mind. Have you ever noticed how fascinating everything is to an infant and how easily they shift their attention from one thing to the next? They easily let go and move on to the next thing. As the child grows, they collect and store knowledge. Some of that is good and other may be toxic.

The toxic experiences could be shameful messages from teachers, parents, or siblings. These messages get translated to a feeling of unworthiness, not good enough, unloved, or not being of value. These toxic beliefs begin to cloud the way you see yourself in relation to the world and others. It’s the lenses that everything is shown through. With enough toxic thoughts, the mind becomes polluted and gets filled with mindless, repetitive brain chatter.

[tweetthis]This is a mind that is not easily at rest and can be forgetful.[/tweetthis] You may even become cynical or pessimistic when your brain remains in this state over a long period of time. Have you ever noticed how some people curse often, using cutting remarks about others, gossip, or find everyone around them full of crap? Well, that is the picture of a polluted mind.


Spirit level

Metal has worth, just like the metals found in the earth that are mined and have value. If your thoughts are full of negativity then you will not be able to see your value, just like you wouldn’t be able to find the minerals in the earth covered by toxic waste. The emotion of the metal element is grief. Grief naturally occurs with a loss of someone or something. Grief is about hanging on to the past and not being able to let go. It keeps you from living in the present moment because you are in a state of wishing for the past to change.


When grief is deep, like the loss of your authentic self and connection to the divine spirit, that’s when it hits the deepest spirit level. This is when you lose inspiration for life, having no purpose or no joy. If this feels like you, you may need 5 Element acupuncture treatment to get you back into balance. What I always suggest people do is just Google “5 element acupuncture + city name” to find a practitioner in your area.

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