Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive disorder. People with IBS have alternating frequent loose bowels movements to constipation with stomach cramps, abdominal pain and bloating.
In traditional Chinese medicine the principle cause of IBS is emotional, for example long term stress, frustration and anger. These emotions relate to the liver organ which then damages the digestive system causing stomach pain and diarrhoea.
Treatment of IBS
Reducing stress, making dietary changes and boosting stomach strength by taking ginger or peppermint oil can relieve the symptoms of IBS.
Research has shown that acupuncture treatment is effective in relieving symptoms of IBS. Acupuncture relieves the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome by:
- Providing pain relief
- Regulating the motility of the digestive tract
- Raising the sensory threshold of the gut. A lowered threshold to bowel pain and distention are hallmarks of IBS
- Acupuncture activates the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation or 'rest and digest' response
- Reducing anxiety and stress. Acupuncture can alter the brain's mood chemistry, increases production of serotonin and endorphins, helping to combat these negative affective states.
Foods that cause IBS
According to Chinese dietary therapy, there are certain types of foods that can aggravate IBS and weaken the digestive system. These foods are:
- Dairy products
- Raw foods such as salads and vegetable juices
Research into IBS
There has been extensive research into the use of acupuncture to treat IBS. Patients with IBS were divided into two groups; control group that has sham acupuncture and the acupuncture group.
Those in the acupuncture group significantly improved when compared to the control group. Quality of life was much better too. This proves the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of IBS.