Acupuncture for Digestion
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diet is an important part of our health. Everything we eat affects our body in different ways. If we overeat or choose poor quality food it may start to cause health problems such as fatigue, weight gain or weight loss, heartburn, bloating, belching, gas, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea.
How Does Acupuncture for Digestion Work
Traditional Chinese Medicine views the stomach and spleen as a cooking pot that breaks down the food that is eaten and turns it into energy and nutrients for the body. The stomach is the cooking pot and the spleen is the digestive fire that warms it up. The stomach cooks and breaks down the food, sending the pure part of food to the spleen to be distributed to the rest of the body and eliminating the waste as feces and urine. It is important to maintain this digestive fire and too many cold and raw foods can put out the digestive fire, weakening and slowing the digestive system or overconsumption of spicy, hot or rich foods over heat the digestive fire. Each patients constitution is very different and to find out what foods effect you, a licensed acupuncturist will do an exam to determine how to best treat you. Learn more about Sunae, the acupuncturist at Ravenswood Chiropractic in Andersonville.
Acupuncture Points for Digestion
According to Chinese medicine, the common patterns associated with acupuncture for digestive problems are:
Spleen deficiency symptoms may be felt as fatigue, loss of appetite, bloating or loose stool.
Phlegm-damp accumulation symptoms are abdominal fullness, gas, weight gain, heavy feeling in body.
Liver Qi stagnation can be due to your emotional state and current stress factors. Symptoms may be epigastric distention, rib side pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, frequent sighing and neck/ shoulder tension.
Food stagnation is related to overeating, fullness after meals, bloating, abdominal cramping or constipation.
Stomach heat is associated with symptoms of acid reflux, belching, foul breath or rapid hunger.
It’s common to experience more than one pattern at a time and many other patterns exist then the few listed above.
Common acupuncture points for digestion are located on the abdomen, arms, legs and back.
The Flavor of Food
All foods are categorized by their flavor and temperature. Flavors include pungent, spicy, sweet, sour and salty. Eating a wide variety of these flavors creates a healthy balance within your body. Overindulgence of any one flavor can begin to cause long term imbalances and negative effects.
Digestive Problems Treated with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs
The World Health Organization recommends acupuncture treatment as effective for some Common digestive problems such as:
Ulcerative colitis: Some studies show acupuncture can provide relief from many inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis. According to a research study “Acupuncture and Moxibustion in the Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis” by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in 2006 states “Acupuncture has traditionally been used in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in China and is increasingly applied in Western countries. The colitis activity index decreased from 8.0 to 4.2 points and in control group from 6.5 to 4.8 points”.
Constipation: Can be treated often in just one treatment by stimulating the digestive system. But many patients suffering from chronic constipation may require a long term result by clearing excess accumulation or stagnation.
Diarrhea: May be a chronic or occasional problem that acupuncture can treat. In Traditional Chinese medicine this is an accumulation of cold or dampness in the digestive system. A treatment of clearing, warming and strengthening the digestive tract is an effective treatment for diarrhea.
Diverticulitis: Is treated by determining each patients symptoms after an exam. Most treatments include clearing heat from inflammation and promoting healing of the digestive tract. Each patients symptoms can differ slightly and the treatment is modified to suit each individual.
Gas: An accumulation of gas or bloating can be a combination of stagnation, weakened digestive system and unbalanced food choices. Treatments help with the digestive process of breaking down foods without the accumulation of gas or bloating.
Indigestion: A recent clinical study on “The treatment of gastroesophageal reflux by acupuncture” published by NCBI in 2010 shows that acupuncture can effectively inhibit the intra-esophageal acid and bile reflux in GERD patients to alleviate symptoms. Acupuncture may restore stomach acidity to normal levels and regulate the small and large intestine function.
Ulcers: Are commonly due to long term digestive problems that eventually lead to acid erosion of the stomach lining. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be a powerful combination to promote healing and decreasing the accumulation of stomach acid.
Many other stomach issues such as upset stomach or sour stomach are also treated effectively with acupuncture. These problems are associated with heat, dampness or over indulgence in improperly balanced foods for your weakened digestive state. Acupuncture can assist with boosting your metabolism, regulating the digestive process, increasing the gastrointestinal muscle contraction and relaxation and reduce acid secretion.