By Toni Eatros, MS, Dipl Ac, AP –
April is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syn-drome) Awareness Month. Many people who suffer from IBS,Chron’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis have tried a multitude of treatments, many without success. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can offer a safe, effective, natural and drug-free way to address these digestive disorders.
IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is an inflammatory intestinal disorder affecting the intestines ability to move the bowel contents. The bowel’s nerves and muscles are sensitive leading to uncoordinated and irregular intestinal contractions. The precise cause is unknown.
IBS is the most common digestive condition in the US. IBS affects one in every five adults. Three times as many women are affected than men. The conglomeration of all the digestive disorders are the #1 reason for employee absenteeism among female workers.
The good news is, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can eliminate these digestive symptoms without the use of drugs and the only side effects are reduced stress and anxiety. Acupuncture can give someone with one of these debilitating digestive disorders their quality of life back. Many people have dramatic improvement after just one treatment.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine looks at the body differently than Western medicine. This conglomerate of symptoms including abdominal pain, gas, bloating, belching, diarrhea, mucous in the stool, constipation, headaches, fatigue, depression, and anxiety are diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis by MDs. From a Chinese medicine perspective, there are several possible diagnosis for IBS. It is my job to determine what the correct diagnosis is and then treat accordingly.
Acupuncture balances the energy in the affected meridians to elicit fast symptom relief. Several meridians travel through the abdomen and it is my job to figure out which one or ones are affected. Meridians are the pathways in our body that the energy or Qi travels, similar to blood traveling in blood vessels. The possible meridian choices are the Ren, Kidney, Stomach, Spleen, Liver or Gallbladder meridians. Once the “sick” meridian is determined, the balancing meridian is then treated using the insertion of fine acupuncture needles. The balancing meridians are usually located in the arms or legs. It is rare that I would need to put a needle into the abdomen.
Often, acupuncture treatment is sufficient to relieve symptoms. Sometimes, in more severe cases, it is necessary to add Chinese herbs or other nutritional supplements to speed healing. When herbs are added, another type of diagnosis is required to determine the appropriate herbal strategy. This diagnosis is called zang-fu diagnosis.
An imbalance of the spleen’s energy is one possible diagnosis. If your spleen isn’t properly cared for, the body’s energy levels will not be supported and illness may occur. The spleen is easily affected and weakened by poor eating habits, antibiotic use, excessive worry, or a weak constitution. When a weakened spleen cannot metabolize or process food efficiently, “dampness” appears in the body. If dampness “rises” to your head, you may experience headaches, a “foggy” feeling and an inability to concentrate. Over time, dampness can lead to bloating, fullness and loose stools.
Another possible diagnosis for IBS is an imbalance in the liver. The liver is associated with emotional health. Stress and anger directly influence the function of your liver. Alcohol, drugs, medications, or a poor diet further compromise your liver function. When this happens, your liver energy overflows, and attacks the spleen. If your spleen is already weakened, the result can be stress-induced IBS.
If your liver is compromised, you may experience alternating diarrhea and constipation, as well as bloating, gas, headaches, and dull pain. In this case, your liver may be the root of the problem, and your spleen the secondary problem.
A third possible diagnosis for IBS is an imbalance in kidney Yang. Kidney Yang is the energy that provides warmth for your body. This energy warms up your spleen to aid in the digestion and breakdown of food. If your kidney energies are compromised, you may experience early-morning diarrhea and possibly bladder incontinence, cold limbs, weak knees and a sore back.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can create a clear picture of the root imbalance(s) that lead to digestive symptoms. Treatment is easy and patients often feel very relaxed afterward. Adjunct therapies such as herbs, dietary changes, breathing techniques and specific exercises may also be added in order to maximize your healing.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can provide a safe, natural, drug-free and effective way to address IBS, Chron’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis. If you are suffering from any digestive disorder, try acupuncture! 2,500 years of medical history can’t be wrong. Call now to schedule an appointment, 239-260-4566 or go to my website, www.AcupunctureSolutionsOnline.com for more information.