Do you experience frequent bouts of diarrhea or exceptionally soft and stinky poo? Or is it impossible for you to “go” if you haven’t had your oat bran cereal? Perhaps you are one of the people who consistently feel bloated and gassy after eating. If you experience any of these digestive disturbances, acupuncture can help!
In Chinese medicine, the spleen is responsible for the transportation and transformation of food and fluids. When there is not enough qi in the spleen system, digestion can become disturbed. Stools become softer and more frequent, food becomes more difficult to digest, and there is often a feeling of fatigue following a meal.
When qi is unable to move freely, constipation can occur. Stagnation of qi can also lead to increased gas, bloating, irritability after meals, and abdominal pressure.
Eating too much spicy or greasy food, international travel, or overindulgence in alcohol can lead to too much heat and dampness in the gut which can cause gas, bloating, odorous stools, nausea, belching, and other symptoms.
Overindulgence in rich food can lead to an evening of intestinal misery with nausea, belching, abdominal pain and pressure, and diarrhea. This pattern is called food stagnation, and is usually more acute than the other situations described.
As you can see, each of these situations leads to a distinct Chinese Medicine diagnosis (spleen qi deficiency, qi stagnation, damp heat in the intestines, food stagnation), which require distinct acupuncture points and specific herbal recommendations. Acupuncture can gently encourage qi movement, and relieve many of these patterns.
For some people, digestive complaints are more than just a disturbance of qi. Food allergies and sensitivities, gut inflammation, parasitic infections, inadequate “good” bacteria, and autoimmune disorders can also cause digestive symptoms. These conditions can be easily diagnosed with a few simple tests. A combination of acupuncture, diet changes, and herbal supplements can often correct the imbalance and lead your gut back to smooth sailing.
If you or someone you know has persistent digestive complaints, I encourage you to call me to discuss your particular situation.