“Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can provide an alternative treatment for irritable bowel syndrome if you are seeking a natural cure, even during pregnancy. I actually really enjoy treating digestive issues because the results are substantial quite quickly – so it is easy to see progress. Acupuncture has a really strong effect on the digestive system and any emotional connections that are related to it.” – Melani Bolyai, L.Ac.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies are effective, non-invasive, and drug free ways to finally experience relief from IBS. Chinese medicine is such an effective treatment for IBS, in fact, that both the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization deemed acupuncture as an appropriate treatment for IBS symptoms like cramping, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
Acupuncture is especially well suited to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focus on healing the root cause of the patient’s IBS, an alternative to the Western medical model of simply treating the symptoms. To treat the root, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are used to both strengthen the digestive system while they also reduce the stress and tension affecting the digestive system. A more robust digestive system is much more able to withstand the effects of stress and reduced stress gives the digestive system the space to strengthen and heal. Since each person experiences IBS with a unique set of symptoms, acupuncture provides a unique and natural treatment plan for an individual patient’s needs.
What is IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a blanket term for several digestive problems affecting the intestines and bowel. IBS is a “functional” diagnosis—meaning that a patient diagnosed with IBS exhibits symptoms of illness—like compromised or irregular bowel function–and the problem cannot be linked to any known virus, bacteria or disease. IBS can be an uncomfortable, sometimes embarrassing, and even painful problem for many people. In fact, 10 to 15% of the American population are said to suffer from IBS—and IBS affects three times more women than men.
IBS is can be characterized by several symptoms including: gas, abdominal pain, bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, mucus in the stool, and irregular bowel movements. There is no known single cause for IBS, but it IBS flare-ups have been found to be triggered by a few specific factors, the most common of which are: stress, food, change in exercise patterns, and hormonal imbalances. Often times, IBS flare-ups are related to a woman’s menstrual activity.
There may be several causes for developing IBS. Frequently IBS can be linked to dietary issues. Heavily processed foods containing excess grease, sugars or chemicals are difficult for the body to assimilate. Eating these foods can weigh down the digestive system, causing an imbalance that Chinese medical practitioners refer to as “dampness.” Another trigger of digestive woes can be an excess of stress or worry. These emotions create tension that can physically disrupt the digestive process, causing IBS symptoms. Irregular or difficult menstrual cycles are also linked to irritable bowel symptoms. All these problems can be addressed and alleviated with Chinese medicine.