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How Eating with Chopsticks Massages Your Organs and Stimulates Digestion

  • Published on: 09 November, 2014
  • Last update: 10 August, 2017

If there is one culture I’ve admired my entire life, it’s the Chinese culture and their ancient knowledge. The pursuit of longevity has played an unusually notable role in China; thus Traditional Chinese Medicine has always focused on creating the longest, healthiest, most balanced life possible. That is definitely my focus as well (in case you couldn’t tell☺), and the reason why I love to blog and learn about Chinese Medicine.

The other day at Lily‘s house, I noticed that my digestion is so much stronger when I eat with her compared to eating at home. Of course, the number one explanation for that is her meals are prepared with love and shared with friends over pleasant conversation. (That is one of my 11 Unconventional Keys to Digestion!) But there was something else. 

It’s the chopsticks!” she said. 

The chopsticks?! I should have known. Seriously, Chinese tradition has it all figured out. They have a purpose behind everything they do. This is another reason you should listen to your parents or grandmother, no matter how much you don’t think you want their advice. Our generation needs to harness that knowledge so we can pass it on, too.

When you hold a fork, you’re basically shoveling food into your mouth (or is that just me?! LOL). There’s no real purpose, thought, or ‘art’ behind it. Your fingers stay in the same position the whole time as the sharp spears do the work for you. That doesn’t leave much room for connection with the food you’re supposed to be savoring. It also doesn’t allow you to be mindful of each bite.

Chopsticks on the other hand are “elegant extensions of the fingers.” Food is selected carefully, balanced with other components of the meal, and relished one piece at a time.

Chopsticks themselves represent the principles of TCM’s Yin and Yang Theory. One stays still while the other moves. The moving chopstick helps the digestive system to function better by stimulating Stomach energy frequency.

How does it do that? Well, let’s have a look at the index finger (which moves the top stick).


When you’re using your index finger to manipulate your chopstick utensil, you are exercising it. Hands are a representation of the entire body (just like the ear, feet, and face! Everything is everything – likewise we are just mini representations of the universe… we rise with the sun, change with the seasons, etc). By exercising the part of your hand that represents the large intestine, you’re awakening and stimulating that organ. You’re helping it contract and move old food out to make room for the new. 

Your middle finger represents your pericardium, also known as your heart. Have you ever seen movies where someone is eating a greasy meal and suddenly falls to the floor from a heart attack?! OK — real life doesn’t happen exactly like that — but it’s important to protect the heart while you’re eating. You want to make sure everything is pumping and flowing. Exercising your middle finger by manipulating chopsticks will massage and calm the heart so that it’s not under pressure from the meal.

The last main finger involved in handling chopsticks is the thumb. Your thumb represents the lung meridian, which is related to your overall Qi (life force). When you’re breathing in (using the lung), you are breathing in the Qi that keeps you alive. Exercising the lung will make sure you have enough Qi to digest.

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