Digestive Problems & Treatment
Acupuncture is effective in the treatment of many digestive complaints including:
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- slow digestion and bloating after meals
- heartburn, acid reflux
- food sensitivities
- ulcerative colitis
- irregularities of bowel movement (diarrhoea and constipation)
From a Chinese Medicine point of view we say digestive energy flows downward. Heartburn, acid reflux and gastric reflux diseases are symptoms of an abnormal flow of digestive Qi. In traditional Chinese medicine we call this condition Rebellious Stomach Qi. It means that the digestive energy (or in this case the digestive juices) are backing upward instead of flowing downward. In chronic conditions, Rebellious Qi is usually the consequence of weak digestive energy, which in itself can have several root causes which often occur in combination. Modern Western medicine treats these conditions by suppressing or neutralizing stomach acids. Though this treatment can often relieve symptoms, it does not address the underlying causes and does not provide a long-term solution.
Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can correct these imbalances and return your digestive system back to the state of balance. A personalized herbal formula based on thorough evaluation of your health will have an elegant combination of several herbs. Your formula can be taken as a powder or in a convenient pill form.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) treatment with acupuncture
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified many different conditions as appropriate for acupuncture treatments, including several which are directly connected to the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):
- abdominal pain
- muscle cramping
Acupuncture is also considered effective as a means of stress reduction. It addresses the underlying problems which in many cases trigger IBS symptoms, such as:
- anxiety, excessive worrying
- menstrual cramps
- premenstrual syndrome / PMT
Research on treatment of IBS with acupuncture
A study which has directly investigated the use of acupuncture versus relaxation therapy in patients suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome found that patients’ quality-of-life and gastrointestinal symptoms were equally improved in both groups. Abdominal pain was significantly reduced. When the patients were followed for a 4-week period post-trial period, only in the acupuncture group did pain reduction persist. Moreover, a significant reduction in stress levels was also observed in the acupuncture group, but not in the relaxation group.
The conclusion drawn was that acupuncture is effective in treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), particularly in the abodminal pain reduction and stress symptoms relief. The study showed that its benefits exceed those of standard relaxation therapy.