The symptoms of digestive problems can be really miserable and include nausea and heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), constipation and diarrhoea.
Acupuncture can help relieve these symptoms.
IBS: The cause of this condition is unclear, but it appears that sensory nerves in the bowel are hypersensitive and may overreact when the bowel wall stretches. Symptoms include pain and cramping, flatulence, sudden bouts of diarrhoea and/or constipation. Research has shown that acupuncture treatment may benefit IBS sufferers by:
- Providing pain relief (Pomeranz 1987)
- Regulating the motility of the digestive tract (Yin, Chen 2008)
- Raising the sensory threshold of the gut (Xu 2009, Ma 2009), Tian (2008), Tian (2006), Xing (2004)
- Reducing anxiety and depression (Samuels 2008). The distress of IBS symptoms can lead to a vicious cycle of anxiety-pain-anxiety, while the embarrassing nature of the condition can cause feelings of depression. Acupuncture can alter the brain’s mood chemistry and increase production of serotonin and endorphins (Han 2004), helping combat these negative affective states.
Results from a recent study on the benefits of electro-acupuncture in regulating vasoactive intestinal peptide for suffers of IBS are exciting (Journal TCM Aug 2015)
You can check the research factsheets at the British Acupuncture Council website for further information on IBS and other digestive problems, or please telephone or email me to discuss whether acupuncture could help you.
“I suffered with IBS for years. The spasms were really disabling and seemed to be made worse by stress and eating the wrong things. There were times at work when I had to go and lie down to relieve the pain and terrible bloating. When I started having acupuncture the pain became less frequent and as treatment continued I realized I had stopped being constantly on alert for the next bout of pain. I wish I had known about acupuncture before.” – Mary, 37
Acupuncture can be safely combined with other treatment you might be receiving for this condition. We will also consider whether there may be dietary or lifestyle changes that could help alleviate your symptoms.