15. September 2014 · Comments Off on Acupuncture Treatment for Colitis · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

One type of inflammatory bowel condition is ulcerative colitis. This disease occurs when the digestive tract becomes chronically inflamed. Ulcerative colitis usually affects the rectum and the colon or large intestine.

Ulcerative Colitis may cause symptoms that include:

  • Loss of weight
  • Stomach pain and cramping
  • Difficulty having a bowel movement despite the desire to do so
  • Sensation of urgency
  • Bleeding in the rectum
  • Bloody stools
  • Stomach pain

Symptoms can also arise outside the gut and may involve mouth ulcers, lesions, skin rashes, eye inflammation, and joint pain

Natural Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis

Like a lot of human health conditions, ulcerative colitis has no known cause. For a lot of sufferers, alternative therapies are highly popular; however, they need to complement and not replace conventional therapy. Some of the nine types of natural therapies that are utilized for ulcerative colitis are:

  1. Probiotics
  2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  3. Oral Aloe Vera Gel
  4. Boswellia
  5. Diet
  6. Folic acid
  7. Acupuncture
  8. Bromelain
  9. Mind-Body Therapies

This article is limited to talking about diet, acupuncture and mind-body therapies.


In a study done in Japan, the role of dietary factors was researched regarding its role in the rise of inflammatory bowel disease. The study involved 111 subjects with ulcerative colitis who were provided with food questionnaires.

The result of the survey indicated that a high consumption of sweets correlated with the increased risk of ulcerative colitis risk. The study showed that vitamin C was able to shield people from developing ulcerative colitis; the higher the intake of vitamin C, the lower the risk of ulcerative colitis. Some of the foods high in vitamin C include spinach, strawberries, parsley, and red bell peppers.

A journal named Gut posted a study that observed patients with ulcerative colitis in remission for a whole year. The consumption of processed and red meat, alcohol and protein increased the possibility of relapse. The researchers theorize that sulphate compounds and high sulphur content in a lot of these foods is the cause, since the intake of these contents also correlated with relapse.

For certain people, carbohydrates can be the reason for their ulcerative colitis. Ms. Elaine Gottschall popularized a book entitled the Specific Carbohydrate Diet after it was used to help her daughter get well from her ulcerative colitis.

Ms. Gottschall later on, wrote a book called Breaking the Vicious Cycle. This book stated that carbohydrates, as types of sugar, can increase and sustain the yeast and bacteria growth in the intestines, resulting in an imbalance that then leads to yeast or bacterial overgrowth. The yeast and bacteria yield acids and toxins that damage the lining of the intestines. These yeast and bacteria also disrupt the function of digestive enzymes leading to improper digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.


Based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), pain is the result of blocked energy along vessels of energy in the body. These vessels are unblocked using acupuncture needles inserted into these invisible vessels known as meridians.

Western medicine explains that acupuncture works by releasing natural painkilling opioids. The needles transmit signals that soothe the sympathetic nervous system, and produce and send out hormones and neurotransmitters.

A typical cost of an acupuncture treatment range from as low as $60 to as high as $120. This therapy is tax-deductible and a lot insurance plans now cover for it.

For people who want to get acupuncture, it is recommended that you try it initially for several weeks one to three times a week.

Mind-body Treatments

The German-based University Clinic of Essen did a study on 30 patients who were in remission of their ulcerative colitis. Some of these patients were given mind-body therapies to see how these affect their condition. The patients were placed in an intervention group that consisted of a 10-week 6 hr/week structured training program involving a Mediterranean diet, moderate exercise, and stress-management training , self-care strategies and behavioral techniques and self-care strategies while the rest received typical care (control group). The results of the study revealed a quality of life improvement of the patients who received had mind-body therapies. The two groups were evaluated by standardized questionnaires. However, for physiological or clinical parameters, there were no differences.

Certain breathing procedures that utilize the mind-body connection have shown to relieve pain. They integrate meditation, movement, breathing and body awareness. These breathing techniques are remarkable since anyone can do them in the comfort of their own home at zero cost. Some of the effective mind-body therapies that a person can try include:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Relaxation Response
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing

Other Natural Remedies

  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Devil’s Claw
  • Fenugreek
  • Slippery Elm
  • Marshmallow
  • Calendula
  • Exercise

These natural remedies are just a few that show promise for ulcerative colitis. They need to be carefully used and should be done under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. If a person with ulcerative colitis leaves his/her condition untreated, it could lead to serious consequences. Therefore, it is important to try out complementary treatments that may even be more effective than conventional therapies for one’s condition.


Willow Tree Wellness Clinic
1607 NE 16th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232
Ph: 503-281-0030

22. December 2013 · Comments Off on Colitis Tests and Diagnosis · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

Because the real cause of colitis is not known, no real exact diagnostic test for it exists although barium x-rays, biopsy and endoscopy can most of the time provide an accurate diagnosis. Endoscopic, lab and physical exams as well as the patient’s medical history are tools the doctor uses to diagnose ulcerative colitis.

Laboratory Tests – These include blood tests that are used for a range of purposes. One purpose is to ascertain low red blood cell count or anemia. Elevated levels of white blood cells or increased signs of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein can manifest signs of inflammation. Also a stool sample can be required to test for presence of infectious pathogens, blood or both.

Endoscopy (flexible colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy) – Flexible colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy are typical diagnostic tests used for diagnosing ulcerative colitis. These tests can diagnose for both Crohn’s disease and uclerative colitis. Flexible colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy both entail the use of a wire-like fiber-optic tube called an endoscope inserted into the patient’s rectum to observe his colon lining. Sometimes the doctor may include other instruments into the endoscope to extract a sample of tissue for biopsy.

  • Colonoscopy gives the physician a view of the whole colon but it may be a bit uncomfortable for the patient so oftentimes this procedure will entail the use of a sedative. This procedure is performed as an out-patient procedure.  A colonoscopy enables the doctor to distinguish if the patient has ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease and can be used as well as for colon cancer screening.
  • In sigmoidoscopy sedation of the patient is not needed. This procedure observes the left colon and the rectum. It is a short procedure lasting typically 10 minutes.  When a person has ulcerative colitis, often the effected body parts include the rectum and the left colon. The doctor often investigates an evenly distributed inflamed intestine lining as well as the bowel wall which becomes tender and easily bleeds when touched with a swab. When the procedure points to ulcerative colitis, a colonoscopy may be ordered by the physician to see the extent of the colitis and to verify the diagnosis.

Ulcerative colitis patients who have been diagnosed with the disease may require occasional endoscopies to appraise their health status when symptoms arise.

Barium Enema X-Ray – Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy are often used diagnostic procedures for identifying ulcerative colitis; however, there may be instances where the patient may need a double-contrast barium enema.  This type of enema entails swallowing barium. The barium travels into the small intestine and an x-ray machine then takes an x-ray photograph of it. The photos may indicate abnormalities and inflammation of the affected parts. This type of test has long been used to identify problems in the colon (large intestine). This procedure along with colonoscopy is a very important tool in the diagnosis of colon diseases like colitis and colon cancer among others. However, endoscopy is by far the more informative and accurate of the two tests.

Ruling out Diseases Similar to Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn’s Disease – Patients of ulcerative colitis manifest more severe diarrhea symptoms than diarrhea symptoms of patients with Crohn’s disease. In terms of stomach pain, however, those with Crohn’s disease show more constant stomach pain compared to those with ulcerative colitis. Scarring (strictures) and fistulas are typical symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease but quite rare with ulcerative colitis. Certain imaging tests and endoscopy often show a more widespread problem in the whole gastrointestinal tract digestive system for Crohn’s disease patients compared to patients suffering from ulcerative colitis. The small intestine is not affected by ulcerative colitis but in Crohn’s disease it is.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS – This condition is also called spastic colitis, functional bowel disease or spastic colon. IBS often has the same symptoms as inflammatory bowel disease. These symptoms include stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea and bloating. Unlike ulcerative colitis IBS does not entail any inflammation of any GI organs or tissues. It also does not come with any bleeding or fever. IBS is often treated with behavioral therapy.

Infectious Colitis – This disease usually develops painfully and quickly. Causes for this condition are certain organisms which can be known in stool samples.

Ischemic Colitis or Intestinal Ischemia – This condition stems from poor blood circulation to and from the intestines. . Intestinal ischemia has symptoms identical to IBS. The high risk group for this disease is the elderly.

Celiac Disease or Celiac Sprue – This is a health condition where the body has an intolerance to gluten (wheat and other wheat products). The presence of gluten in the body causes inflammation in the small intestine resulting in stool abnormalities, vitamin deficiencies and diarrhea. Usually this disease occurs in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease or IBD and can develop during childhood.

Tree of Life Acupuncture
1215 120th Ave NE #206
Bellevue, WA 98005
(425) 732-3201

24. November 2013 · Comments Off on Colitis Lifestyles and Home Remedies · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

If you suffer from colitis, be proactive and avail of self-healing remedies and lifestyles that are practically drug-free alternative treatments and are more preferred by a large number of colitis and other inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) sufferers. They are more preferred because almost all of these remedies are bereft of harmful side effects and promote the self healing of the body.

The list below shows some of the self healing colitis techniques you can try.

Diet – A high percentage of IBD sufferers have IBD due to their eating of certain food products. So, one commonsensical way to prevent IBD symptoms is to avoid eating these foods.  You can identify what foods trigger your symptoms by making a food journal and remove the foods that worsen your condition (most of the time, these foods include, acid foods, sugar and fat-saturated foods).  At the same time, you can increase intake of nutritious and healthy foods (like foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables and fruits) to lower your risk of developing colitis. Refer to your physician or a dietitian regarding the right foods to eat and to embark on a diet plan that makes your body healthy and strong.

Herbal remedies – The plant world has so many herbal remedies to offer an IBD sufferer for the treatment of his condition. Plant herbs have been utilized by diverse civilizations for a number of millennia for health issues like problems in the digestive and excretory systems including colitis and Crohn’s disease. Some of the common and highly popular herbal remedies that are often used to treat inflammation include wild indigo, slippery elm, ginkgo, green tea and cat’s claw among many others. Herbs can be served as tea, added to recipes or taken as supplements or even consumed as is depending on the plant. Before you take any herb, however, it is best to consult with a licensed herbalist first.

Acupuncture – Acupuncture is a part of the ancient medical art of traditional Chinese medicine that has been endorsed by the world Health Organization as a valid treatment for 40 known health conditions. This treatment is about the use of filiform needles inserted at specific points in the body.  The needles inserted at these points help restore energy balance and blood flow in the body. Acupuncture is very effective in treating painful symptoms as well as problems like constipation and diarrhea. For best results, consult with a licensed and highly experienced acupuncturist.

Hypnosis – Hypnosis is sometimes referred to as body/mind medicine. This self healing technique can be used in treating colitis. It generates a feeling of relaxation in the patient and the reduction of anxiety and stress as well as for the improvement of immune function. Hypnosis betters a patient’s condition by enabling him to tap into his subconscious to gain better control of his symptoms. This type of healing should only be done by a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

Homeopathy – Homeopathy is a kind of healing technique that holistically treats a patient. This means that a treatment is known after consideration and study of the patient’s emotional, psychological and physical health. A trained and experienced homeopath is the best person to perform this type of treatment.

Naturopathy – This treatment addresses a person as a whole, meaning spirit, body and mind. It does not directly engage the disease head on but instead treats it by encouraging self-healing through selected and healthy lifestyle changes that the person needs in order to attain and keep good health. A lot of natural alternative therapies can be suggested some of which include herbs, physiotherapy or massage, homeopathy and acupuncture among others.

Probiotics – Less known as good gut bacteria (like lactobacillus), this treatment has been shown to greatly improve the condition of colitis patients. By increasing the beneficial bacteria in the gut, probiotics help keeps the bad bacteria in check and bring a much better balance to the gut flora.

Stress reduction – Stress and anxiety have been major causes of the worsening or triggering of IBD symptoms. So, one good treatment plan for colitis patients is to avail of techniques that reduce stress in the mind and body. Therapies and relaxation techniques like Tai Chi, yoga and meditation are great stress reducers which you can perform on a daily basis.

Lessen bad habits – A person who lives with bad habits like drinking alcohol, overeating or smoking is likely to develop a lot of health issues including IBD. If you are into these habits do yourself a favor and cease immediately these habits to avoid worsening or triggering your symptoms.

Regardless of what self healing methods you practice to treat your colitis, make sure you talk to your doctor first before beginning any of them. The advice of your doctor is still the most important thing to consider. It is also wise to let your doctor monitor your condition on a regular basis to see how well you respond to the aforementioned self healing therapies.
Vital Gate Acupuncture
107 W 82nd St
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-4244

15. November 2013 · Comments Off on Colitis Coping and Support · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

The lowering of stress in the body is one of the key things to remember in dealing daily with ulcerative colitis and other IBD symptoms. The following tips can help you deal with colitis and make you feel stronger physically and emotionally.

  • Activities, sports and exercise – As long you have no flare ups, try to get involved in a physical activity that promotes strength, vigor and more importantly, one that removes your stress.  When you are in the midst of a flare up, indulge instead in light activities like yoga, walking or tai chi.  You can also reduce stress by putting things into perspective. Try not to let things get into you.  This helps you to better avoid stressful situations and make your daily life as minimally tense as possible. Your doctor can be the best person to talk to when searching for someone who can help you manage your stress much better. He can refer you to a stress-management professional where you can be empowered with techniques that help you deal with stress in a very productive way.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no – This statement simply means to say no to over-scheduling or over-committing yourself that can bring you to the point where you become exhausted and frustrated. If you are physically or emotionally exhausted the ability to keep a healthy spirit may become untenable as well.
  • Plan ahead – If you plan to travel or just simply to go outside to eat try to find a way to properly manage your flare up when it comes. Try to know where the bathroom is first when you are in a restaurant or any public venue.
  • Look for support – You can find a group of individuals near your place or online who know what you are going through and are willing to share their time to help you out with your problem. IBD can put you closer to people rather than isolate you from them. If you allow IBD to victimize you and make you isolated and lonely, try to fight this situation by joining and being a part of an IBD support group.  This can then allow you to help yourself and others.


Mark Schwartz is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Buckhead Acupuncture & Herbal Center in Atlanta, GA.

03. November 2013 · Comments Off on Colitis – Preparing for Your Appointment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

Your health is one aspect of your life that you need to seriously care about. Therefore, preparing for your doctor’s appointment regarding your colitis will help you address this problem effectively and get the best possible treatment.

If you come prepared for your appointment, even a 15-minute appointment with your doctor can make you much more informed about your healthcare and condition. The doctor can get as much things done if you come in along with a list of the specific dates and times of your symptoms all written down rather than depending on your not-so-reliable memory.

Below are some helpful guides to assist you in making your coming appointment as fruitful and as efficient as possible.

Prior to the appointment:

  • Keep a diary or journal of questions to ask your doctor – Your ulcerative colitis may bother you at times when you least expect it and unless you have written everything down, chances are high that you will not remember them all. Write down all your questions to address your physician in the journal.
  • Possess a symptoms and food journal – Monitoring and listing down faithfully your diet and symptoms can give your doctor a much clearer picture of your everyday condition. The doctor may be able to glean a pattern from your notes that can give him ideas for the right treatment.
  • Fax or email any relevant information about your condition to the doctor’s office – When you have information that you want your doctor to possess, email or fax them and talk about them during your appointment.


Things to bring to the appointment:

  • Family member, friend or spouse to help you out with
  • A small notebook for note taking
  • Symptoms and food journal
  • A list of current medicines and their doses – Include also steroids, herbs and supplements
  • List of concerns and questions


During the appointment:

  • Write down or better yet if you have a companion, have him take notes of comments, answers or questions made by your physician. Ask for the right spelling of unfamiliar words, tests and drugs.
  • Ask your physician if he has any informational materials like brochures, pamphlets or books available that can help enlighten you more about your condition. These materials may have answers to questions you might have regarding certain drugs, procedures and tests.


If you still have unanswered questions, you can stay in touch with your doctor by email or fax.

  • Some of the questions you can ask you doctor can include:
  • Should I change my diet?
  • Should I keep a diary of my diet and symptoms?
  • What foods should I take during symptom flare-up?
  • Should my condition make me more concerned about nutritional deficiencies in my diet?
  • Are there risks to my condition?
  • What do I need to do to improve my symptoms?
  • Can drugs help treat or lessen my symptoms?
  • What treatment is needed when flare ups start to occur?
  • What tests are needed to diagnose my condition?
  • Do I need surgery?
  • What’s the prognosis for a person with my condition?


Questions the doctor may ask you may include these:


  • When did you first start noticing your symptoms?
  • Have they (your symptoms) been intermittent or constant?
  • Do you have mild, moderate or severe symptoms? If severe, how severe are they?
  • Do you have stomach pain?
  • Did you experience diarrhea? Has it been frequent?
  • Have you had any unexplained weight loss recently?
  • What things seem to better your condition? What seems to worsen them?
  • Have you recently had jaundice, hepatitis or liver problems?
  • Did you ever take isotretinoin (acne drug)?
  • Have you recently used antibiotics?
  • Does anyone at your home have diarrhea?
  • Have you traveled lately? Where?
  • Where you compelled to wake up during your sleep because of diarrhea?
  • Did you recently have any eye or joint problem, skin sores or rashes or mouth sores?


Juliette Aiyana is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs in New York City.

27. October 2013 · Comments Off on Causes of Colitis · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

Medical researchers have not really been able to pinpoint the true cause of colitis; they have, however, five consensual theories about what causes it. These theories are:

1. Antibiotics – The 1950s saw the first use of antibiotics and likewise a sharp increase of colitis cases. One of the effects of antibiotics to the body is that they decrease the number of naturally occurring and beneficial bacteria living in the digestive system. With the decrease in these bacteria the inner lining of the colon starts to weaken. Worse, while antibiotics decrease the population of normal bacteria, it aids in the increase of other bacteria in the body one of which is the bacterium called Clostridium difficile. Clostridium difficile is one of the toxin-producing bacteria in the body that can result in the development of colitis. The major contribution of antibiotics for the development of colitis in a person may be the fact that they damage the intestine’s mucosal lining. This lining helps protect the gastrointestinal tract and so is a very important part of the digestive system. When this lining has been compromised, the digestive enzymes of the body help in further eroding it. The erosion of the lining then gives way to symptoms such as diarrhea, bowel urgency and bleeding.

2. Immune system – Researchers at the Mayo Clinic posit that an immune system that has been undermined by illness can result in the inflammation of the digestive system and thus colitis. Other researchers think that certain pathogens like Shigella, Salmonella, botulism, Listeria or E. Coli can also play a major role in colitis development.

Blood supply – Insufficient or restricted blood circulation to the colon can lead to the inflammation of the blood vessels. Medical conditions such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, infections, hernias or diabetes and even arterial narrowing due to aging can weaken blood flow to the colon.

Heredity – The Mayo Clinic have also indicated that heredity plays a major role in the development of colitis. Researchers at the clinic have claimed that gene mutations can be passed on that predisposes a person to colitis development. This assumption has not yet been validated since the genes referred to have not yet been identified. Still, statistics reveal about 15% of colitis cases have relatives who also suffer from certain types of irritable bowel diseases.

Stress – Stress may not be considered a direct cause of colitis but it can be one of the major causes for colitis flare ups. Most doctors consider stress as one of the triggers for colitis.

Tree of Life Acupuncture
1215 120th Ave NE #206
Bellevue, WA 98005
(425) 732-3201