How Acupuncture Relieves Digestion and Gastrointestinal Pain
Over thirty percent of the United States' population is affected by a type of digestive condition. These conditions can be problems such as acid reflux, food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, Crohn's disease, diarrhea, or ulcerative colitis. Thirty percent was figured only based on people who visit the physician's office due to a digestive problem, which means there could be thousands of unreported cases. Gastrointestinal problems are not usually cured with standard medications, but effectively treated with oriental medicine and acupuncture.
It was found that acupuncture and oriental medicine treatments have been used since before 3 AD originating in ancient China. Literature from this time period suggests that there are certain acupuncture points on the body and specific herbs that can help treat digestive disorders like diarrhea and abdominal pain. Traditional Chinese medicine says that digestive problems are due to an imbalance of the patient's spleen Qi (life energy), since the spleen is responsible for managing the nutrients we take in and turning it into energy.
Below are the top three complaints physicians hear about and how acupuncture can help
Keep in mind that acupuncture can be used for any digestive conditions, not just the three below.
Acid Reflux (GERD)
Several studies have been conducted on how acupuncture affects acid reflux. Most notably is one published by the American Journal of Physiology. Research states that by stimulating certain acupuncture points on the body, esophageal sphincter disorders are reduced by over forty percent. There are many prescription and over the counter treatments for this disease on the market, though many of them come with side effects whereas acupuncture does not.
In the notable study, electro-acupuncture was used to treat this disorder. When the esophageal sphincter is relaxing at abnormal times it will cause stomach acid to flow upwards causing symptoms such as heartburn. When a specific point on the wrist, called Neiguan, is stimulated with electro-acupuncture, abnormal relaxation of the esophageal sphincter was greatly reduced.
Besides acupuncture, oriental medicine will suggest specific Chinese herbs for you to take, like ginger. Ginger is not only used for acid reflux, but all kinds of digestive problems such as diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and indigestion. It increases the production of gastric juices which means food is digested more effectively.
This common digestive malady, also known as gastroenteritis or infectious diarrhea, is caused by consuming foods infected with viruses, parasites, and bacteria. It can cause symptoms such as fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramping. The bacterium typically responsible for this condition is either E. coli, salmonella, or staphylococcus. If you were to let the body fight off food poisoning without any medical help, it would take anywhere from one week to a few months to fully recover from it, assuming you are consuming the proper amount of water and getting enough rest.
Food poisoning will weaken the overall immune system over time. This will make the immune system much more susceptible to getting infected again. This is why it isn't always the best idea to let the body handle the problem itself. If the problem persists for longer than two days, it is advised that you seek treatment.
Acupuncture and oriental medicine techniques are best used for mitigating symptoms, like severe diarrhea and vomiting. It helps the immune system remove the toxins from the body. Once the food poisoning is treated, acupuncture should be continued until the body regains its strength.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
About twenty percent of adults in the United States will experience irritable bowel syndrome at some point in their life. It occurs when the lower digestive track is irritated. Common causes of IBS can be stress or a poor diet. Symptoms include diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, bloating, constipation, and gas.
Oriental medicine states that IBS is a result of imbalanced Qi in the liver and spleen. The liver is said to be the central control system of Qi while the spleen is responsible for our digestive systems. Stress, an unhealthy diet, fatigue, and overeating all can disrupt the flow of our Qi and cause IBS. Acupuncture, a proper diet, exercise, and frequent relaxation exercises will help treat IBS and prevent it from reoccurring.
The Acupuncture Treatment
When you meet with the acupuncturist (me), explain your exact symptoms so that a customized treatment plan can be created for you. You will also get suggested lifestyle and dietary changes.
If you are affected by any digestive disorder, call or send an email to set up an acupuncture appointment
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