Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help manage many digestive disorders including diverticulosis, crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and manage common digestive symptoms such as colic, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and gas.
irritable bowel syndrome
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), IBS is diagnosed and treated according to some of these common indicators:
damp accumulation and weaken spleen: eating heavy and greasy food like deep-fry, takeout and foods rich in animal fat weakens the transforming and transporting of food by the digestive system. This allows fatty food to clog the digestive track especially in the intestines allowing dampness to accumulate. The onset of the dampness results in fatigue, bloating, weight gain and loose stool with undigested food. This accumulation occurs due to the body being unable to process nutrients and turn it into a usable form of energy. Acupuncture points (ST40, ST25, SP6 and ST36) and Chinese herbal medicine (Shen Ling Bai Zhu San) are used to eliminate the dampness and strengthen the spleen.
cold in the spleen and intestines: excess cold in the digestive system causes constriction and poor motility in the digestive track. This results in constipation and pain since the harmonious movement of the bowel is being blocked by the cold. Warmth dilates the digestive track and allows motility to occur. Acupuncture is given with moxibustion (ST25, SP15 and REN6) and the classical Chinese herbal formula of Da Jian Zhong Tang can be used to unbind the cold constriction in the intestine and stop the associated pain.
damp heat in the intestines: eating hot, spicy or sweet foods can generate a lot of dampness and heat in the intestine. Excessive consumption of these types of food can cause a strong odour when passing gas and stool. The stool is often in the form of yellow diarrhea. There is an urgency to go to the toilet, pain in the epigastric region and a burning sensation in the anus when defecating. The diarrhea will often come out like a volcanic eruption. Acupuncture (ST44 and ST19) and Chinese herbal formula Da Cheng Qi Tang is used to clear heat and eliminate dampness.
A study conducted at the University of Western Sydney (Journal of American Medical Association, 1998), evaluated the effectiveness of traditional Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of IBS. 116 patients with IBS were divided into 3 groups. 1 group received pre-made Chinese herbal formulas, a 2nd group was given customised herbal formulas according to their specific symptoms and a 3rd group was given a placebo. The two groups taking the Chinese herbs showed significant improvement with their IBS when compared to the placebo group. 14 weeks after treatment a follow up was done and those who received the individualised Chinese herbal formulas catered to their specific symptoms indicated the most improvement.