Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a frustrating and complex disorder in which the intestines lose their ability to efficiently move their contents. Most common symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, and/or constipation. Less common symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, anxiety and depression. IBS may be triggered by diet, stress, emotional factors, hormone levels, or medications.
Treating IBS with Acupuncture
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine provides a drug-free, safe, and effective means to address IBS. According to Chinese medicine, there are several possible causes for IBS, one of these being an imbalance of the spleen. The spleen is in charge of digesting and assimilating foods and liquids, and its main function is to help aid the production of spleen Qi. This is the energy that provides power and nourishment for the entire body. The spleen is also responsible for producing blood from the food that is broken down, and converting it into energy for your body. If the spleen is suffering, your energy levels will not be supported and illness may occur.
Dampness in the Body
When a weakened spleen is unable to metabolize or process food efficiently, “dampness” appears in the body. Dampness occurs when undigested food sits in the gut, rotting. This rotting causes a variety of symptoms, and over time, it can lead to bloating, fullness, and loose stools.
Another possible cause for IBS is an imbalance in the liver. The liver is associated with emotional health, which can be influenced by stress and anger. Poor diet and the use of alcohol, drugs and medications can further compromises the liver’s functions. When a liver is compromised, your body may begin to alternate between diarrhea and constipation, as well as headaches, bloating, a dull pain, and gas.
An imbalance in kidney Yang could also be a cause of IBS symptoms. Energy from your kidney warms up your spleen to aid in digesting and breaking down food. If kidney energies are compromised, it may result in diarrhea, and possibly, cold limbs, weak knees, bladder incontinence, and a sore back.
Your practitioner will determine what organ and meridian systems are contributing to your IBS, and they may also suggest additional therapies such as dietary changes, herbs, exercises , and breathing techniques to maximize your healing.
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