What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a complex disorder in which the intestines lose their ability to efficiently move their contents.
The main symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, and/or constipation.
Less common symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Symptoms may be triggered by stress, diet, emotional factors, hormone levels and medications.
Traditional Chinese medicine in digestive health
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is holistic healthcare system looks at the body differently. According to Chinese medicine, the body is like a garden that must be cultivated and maintained in order to grow strong and remain healthy. Good health happens when all of the organs and meridian systems are balanced and 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.
“Dampness” concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine
The Spleen is easily affected and weakened by poor eating habits and diet, antibiotics, excessive worry, or a weak constitution. When a weakened spleen cannot metabolize or process food efficiently, “dampness” appears in the body. Dampness occurs when rotting, undigested food sites in the gut, causing a variety of symptoms. If dampness “rises” to your head, you may experience headaches, a “foggy” feeling and an inability to concentrate. Over time, dampness can lead to bloating, fullness and loose stools.
Imbalance in the liver – common possible scenario
In TCM the liver is associated with emotional health. Liver ensures the free flow of energy – including physical flow and mental energy flow. Stress and anger directly influence the function of your liver. Alcohol, drugs and medications, or a poor diet further compromise its function. When this happens, your liver energy overflows, in a figurative sense, and attacks the spleen. If your spleen is already weakened, it can be easily overcome. The result can be stress-induced symptoms.
If your liver is compromised, you may experience the following symptoms:
- alternating diarrhoea/urgent bowel motion and constipation;
- dull pain.
In this case, your liver may be the root of the problem, and spleen the secondary problem.
Kidney-Yang deficiency – could be a underline cause
Kidney is energy that provides warmth for your body. This energy warms up your spleen to aid in the digesting and breakdown of food. If your kidney energies are compromised, you may experience early-morning diarrhoea and possibly bladder incontinence, cold limbs, low libido, menstruation symptoms, weak knees and a sore lower back.
What does a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner do?
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, menstruation period for female;
- Palpation of your abdomen /back, your pulse and your tongue;
We then determine what organ and meridian systems are contributing to your digestive issues. We may suggest adjunct therapies such as acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, dietary changes, breathing techniques and exercises in order to maximise your healing.
Almond Wellness Centre Clinics
Based in Coburg and Ringwood, our acupuncture Chinese medicine clinics provide complementary care for the community in Melbourne Eastern and Northern suburbs.
Traditional Chinese medicine doesn’t diagnose or treat a “Disease”. Rather treat the person by addressing the underline connection of the above “Organs”.
To know if acupuncture Chinese medicine can be beneficial for your digestive health, please feel free to contact us.
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