Let’s start with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), something suffered by 10-15% of humans.
Acupuncture is a treatment option to consider right alongside other evidence-based methods.
“Acupuncture exhibits clinically and statistically significant control of IBS symptoms,” concluded a meta-analysis published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology. The study investigated all three types of IBS: diarrhea predominant, constipation predominant, and alternating.
Furthermore, the researchers found that acupuncture is both safe and effective.
What can acupuncture do? It relaxes muscle spasm, improves bowel function, relieves chronic abdominal pain, and decreases the ratio of abnormal stools. One finding indicated that acupuncture increased parasympathetic tone, thus regulating an important aspect of the nervous system.
Acupuncture combined with ginger and salt-partitioned moxibustion (a form of heat) can be remarkably effective for diarrhea-prominent IBS.
Current research also demonstrates that this combination is helpful for those who suffer from Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
How is this verified? Western science has detailed the affected cellular responses and secretions that reduce intestinal inflammation related to Crohn’s Disease. Acupuncture and moxibustion's positive impact on some of these measures now has been researched.
Chinese medicine can also alleviate constipation.
Acupuncture, herbal formulas, and diet are just a few Chinese medicine modalities that effectively address constipation.
Again, research supports this. For example, in 2016 the Annals of Internal Medicine reported a study that included over 1,000 participants with chronic and severe constipation. Electro-acupuncture resulted in significant symptom and quality-of-life improvements after eight weeks of treatment. Effects persisted well afterwards.
Chinese medicine looks at patterns. A licensed practitioner assesses all the information, diagnoses which type of constipation relates to an individual, and treats accordingly.
In summary, whether your elimination issues are one-time or chronic, know that Chinese medicine is a strategic intervention and path towards better health.
Janet Lee Cook
Licensed Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs