Chinese medicine acupuncture and digestive health
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a holistic approach to healthcare, viewing the body as a garden that requires cultivation and maintenance for optimal health. In TCM, good health is achieved when all organs and meridian systems are balanced and harmoniously working together.
How does your garden grow?
According to Chinese medicine theories, there are several possible causes for digestive issues.
One of these is an imbalance of the spleen.
The Spleen is the organ in charge of digestion and assimilation of foods and liquids. One of the main functions of the Spleen is to aid in the production of Spleen Qi. Spleen Qi is the energy that provides power and nourishment for the entire body.
Another function of the Spleen is to produce blood from the food it breaks down and to convert it into usable energy to power your body. If your spleen isn’t properly cared for, the body’s energy levels will not be supported and illness may occur.
Spleen Deficiency Symptoms:
When the spleen is deficient, various digestive symptoms may arise, including:
- Poor appetite
- Bloating, especially after meals
- Loose bowel movements
Other Symptoms of Spleen Deficiency:
In addition to digestive issues, spleen deficiency in TCM may manifest through the following symptoms:
- Poor concentration
- Irregular or scanty menstrual periods in women
“Dampness” in Traditional Chinese Medicine
“Dampness” in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
The Spleen, a vital organ in TCM, can be easily affected and weakened by poor eating habits, dietary imbalances, antibiotic use, excessive worry, or a weak constitution. When the Spleen’s function is compromised, it may struggle to efficiently metabolize and process food, resulting in the accumulation of “dampness” within the body.
Dampness manifests when undigested or rotting food lingers in the digestive system, giving rise to various symptoms:
- Head-related Symptoms: When dampness “rises” to the head, individuals may experience:
- A feeling of mental fogginess
- Difficulty concentrating
- Digestive Symptoms: Over time, dampness can contribute to digestive issues, including:
- Feelings of fullness
- Loose stools
Addressing Dampness in TCM typically involves restoring the Spleen’s function and resolving the accumulation of dampness. TCM practitioners may recommend dietary modifications, herbal remedies, acupuncture, and lifestyle adjustments to support the Spleen and promote the efficient elimination of dampness from the body.
Imbalance in the Liver – Common Scenarios in TCM
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the liver is closely associated with emotional well-being. It plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth flow of energy, both physically and mentally. Stress and anger directly impact the liver’s function, and factors such as alcohol, drugs, medications, or an unhealthy diet can further compromise its health. When the liver’s function is compromised, it can lead to an overflow of liver energy, figuratively “attacking” the spleen. If the spleen is already weakened, it becomes susceptible to this overflow, resulting in stress-induced symptoms.
When the liver is imbalanced, various symptoms may arise, including:
- Alternating episodes of diarrhoea/urgent bowel movements and constipation
- Excessive gas
- Cramping or dull pain
In this scenario, the liver is considered the primary issue, while the spleen becomes a secondary concern due to the liver’s impact on it.
Addressing an imbalanced liver in TCM involves restoring its harmonious function and supporting emotional well-being. TCM practitioners may recommend acupuncture, herbal remedies, dietary adjustments, stress management techniques, and lifestyle modifications to rebalance the liver and alleviate associated symptoms.
Kidney-Yang deficiency – could be a underline cause
- In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the energy of the kidneys provides warmth and vitality to the body. This energy is responsible for warming the spleen, aiding in the digestion and breakdown of food. When the kidney energies become compromised, it can lead to various symptoms:
- Early-morning diarrhea
- Potential bladder incontinence
- Cold limbs
- Decreased libido
- Menstrual irregularities or symptoms
- Weakness in the knees and lower back pain
These symptoms may be present in several common digestive conditions, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), colitis, Crohn’s disease, and others.
Kidney-Yang deficiency in TCM is considered an underlying cause that contributes to these symptoms. Restoring and supporting the kidney energies is crucial to address the root cause and alleviate associated symptoms. TCM practitioners may recommend specific acupuncture points, herbal remedies, dietary adjustments, and lifestyle modifications to nourish and strengthen the kidneys.
So, what does a Chinese Medicine acupuncture practitioner do?
A Chinese medicine acupuncture practitioner takes a holistic approach to healthcare, focusing on the individual as a whole rather than merely treating a specific disease or symptom. Instead of isolating symptoms, TCM looks for the underlying connections and imbalances within the body’s organs and energy systems.
Rather than focusing solely on treating a specific disease, your practitioner aims to enhance the body’s overall balance and vitality. By restoring harmony within the organs and energy systems, TCM seeks to promote optimal health and well-being on multiple levels—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
When you meet with us, we will check:
- Your main complaint;
- Duration of the main symptoms;
- Details of symptoms, such as appetite, bowel habit, form, frequency, associated symptoms;
- The aggravating and relieving factors;
- Western medicine diagnosis if there is;
- Your treatment history and current management, such as medication, diet plans, supplements, etc.;
- Other details of your general health such as your emotions, energy, menstrual cycle for female;
- Palpation of your abdomen /back, your pulse and your tongue;
Based on the gathered information, we will conduct a Pattern Diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to identify the specific pattern of disharmony related to your digestive issues. Through this diagnosis, we will determine which organs and meridian systems are involved in contributing to your symptoms.
Once the Pattern Diagnosis is established, we can develop a comprehensive treatment plan to address the underlying imbalances. This may involve various adjunct therapies such as acupuncture moxibustion Chinese herbal medicine. Dietary changes tailored to your specific needs may also be suggested to optimise your healing process.
Breathing techniques and exercises can be incorporated to enhance the overall effectiveness of the treatment plan and promote the smooth flow of energy within the body.
By combining these various modalities and approaches, our aim is to provide a comprehensive and holistic treatment that addresses the root causes of your digestive issues and supports your body’s natural healing abilities.
Please note that individual treatment plans may vary, and it is advisable to consult with a qualified TCM practitioner for personalised guidance based on your specific condition and needs.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes and should not be considered medical advice. if you have suffering from IBS, colitis or other digestive issues and want to know whether acupuncture Chinese medicine can be beneficial for your, please consult with our registered acupuncture Chinese medicine practitioners at Almond Wellness Centre.
Almond Wellness Centre Clinics
Almond Wellness Centre located in Victoria’s Coburg and Ringwood area, is a multidisciplinary clinic dedicated to promoting wellness. At our clinics, we emphasise the importance of comprehensive healthcare that considers the entirety of an individual. Our approach involves treating each person as a unique individual, taking into account their lifestyle, diet, environment, emotions, and attitude.
Whether you are in search of treatment for a particular health issue or aiming to enhance your overall well-being, Almond Wellness Centre is dedicated to delivering personalised care tailored to your needs. Our goal is to assist you in achieving your health objectives and supporting your journey towards optimal wellness.
As each person is different, if you or someone you care about is experiencing digestive issues and would like to explore the potential benefits of Chinese medicine acupuncture, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our senior practitioner Dr. Richard Zeng and other fully qualified registered acupuncture Chinese medicine practitioners in both Coburg clinic and Ringwood clinic are here to provide information and assistance.
Listed are a few recent researches of acupuncture Chinese herbal medicine for some common digestive issues.
Acupuncture plus Chinese Herbal Medicine for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhoea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – 2019 reviews. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Effectiveness of acupuncture to treat irritable bowel syndrome: A meta-analysis.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Feb 21;20(7):1871-7.
Efficacy of Chinese Herbal Medicine for Diarrhoea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 4071260.
Herbal Medicines for the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review. Electron Physician. 2016 Aug; 8(8): 2719–2725.