The human digestive system includes a complex system of organs, each tasked with its own role in moving food through the body or breaking down nutrients for the body’s use. When this system experiences any kind of imbalance, you may experience bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or other unpleasant symptoms.
Thankfully, a variety of medical techniques can help you get your digestive system back into good working order, including one of the oldest of all healing modalities, acupuncture. Take a moment to digest the answers to these frequently asked questions about the use of acupuncture for digestive disorders.
How Does Acupuncture Aid Digestive Disorders?
Acupuncture can improve the state of your digestive system in a few different ways. Chinese Medicine adheres to the principle of life energy flowing along major lines known as meridians. By manipulating this flow at specific points along specific meridians, the acupuncturist can correct imbalances associated with illnesses.
Acupuncture also takes a holistic or whole-body approach to the healing of digestive disorders and other complaints. Many factors can influence digestive wellness, from infections and dietary habits to emotional stress. Your acupuncturist may prescribe treatments and lifestyle changes to address these causes and triggers.
What Kinds of Digestive Disorders Can Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture can treat a wide range of digestive conditions and symptoms. Your acupuncturist may recommend it for the treatment of specific ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and acid reflux. It can also relieve more general issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation.
Where Do the Needles Go in the Treatment of a Digestive Disorder?
Acupuncture and acupressure manipulate the exact same points to treat the same kinds of ailments. In the case of digestive disorders, these points may lie both on the abdomen and on seemingly unrelated areas of the body. Don’t feel too surprised if your treatment includes points on your back, inner ankles, or legs.
You may receive needles in multiple points aligned along the same digestive meridian, with each needle influencing different symptoms. For instance, the Qihai point (CV 6), located 1.5 inches below the navel, influences the lower abdominal organs, while the Zhongwan point (CV 12) a few inches above the navel influences the upper abdominal organs.
How Do Chinese Herbs Support Acupuncture for Digestive Disorders?
Chinese Medicine typically combines acupuncture with the administration of Chinese herbs to treat both digestive disorders and other kinds of illnesses. You may receive these ingredients in the form of herbal teas, either individually or in formulas that contain multiple complementary herbs.
Different herbs offer relief for different kinds of digestive challenges. For example, Shan Zha (better known in the West as hawthorn berry) can help if you have trouble digesting meats or fatty foods. Sheng Jiang (ginger) can ease nausea, heartburn, and gas issues, while Chen Pi (orange peel) can treat vomiting and abdominal pain. Herbs are rarely prescribed individually in Chinese Medicine. Most of the time it is the combination of herbs that get to the root cause of why you are having the digestive issue in the first place.
How Effectively Does Acupuncture Treat Digestive Disorders?
Studies have demonstrated that the manipulation of acupuncture points can treat digestive disorders quite effectively. For example, two separate studies showed that acupressure reduced bloating, gas, and other problems in individuals suffering from constipation.
Research has also verified acupuncture’s effectiveness against IBS, especially in combination with Chinese herbs. One study of 60 IBS patients completely alleviated symptoms for up to six months, while 11 others also experienced benefits, raising the overall total success rate of the treatment to 90 percent.
If your digestive system could use some safe, effective help, visit Acupuncture & Holistic Health Associates. We can perform an evaluation based on the principles of Chinese Medicine and then administer the right treatment for your specific needs. Contact our office today.