Modern science is also recognising the importance of the abdomen in many areas of health, including digestion, immune function, sleep, mood, depression, and even neurological diseases(Hadhazy, A. 2010). The abdomen is often referred to as our second brain because it contains the greatest number of neurones outside of the brain and the spinal cord. It is responsible for the production of many neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin.
The gut is where ninety-five percent of serotonin is found (Dr. Keown, D. 2014, p.198) and has a special communication with the brain. The influence of serotonin (the happy hormone) on emotional wellbeing gives the abdomen extra influence on treating emotional conditions such as depression, anxiety and conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People suffering from conditions such as depression, OCD and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often have a problem with the metabolism of serotonin in the gut being incorrect and therefore causing the levels of serotonin in the brain to change. Serotonin is thus clearly a bowel hormone that affects the brain, as much as the other way around. The abnormal metabolism of serotonin can be addressed specifically by correcting imbalances with the Spleen as the Spleen is responsible for regulating the amount of serotonin circulating in the body through the function of the Blood platelets. Many of the prescriptions used in abdominal acupuncture work directly on the Spleen, such as ‘Heaven and Earth’ or ‘Regulating Spleen Qi’ .