Presently, a fifth of adults in the United States suffer from one type or another form of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. That translates into around 44 million individuals! This statistic is an ominous sign that there are other and even more untold numbers of people who are experiencing digestive conditions such as dietary sensitivities(food allergies, dairy or gluten intolerance, etc.), GERD and Crohn’s Disease.
Symptoms that accompany these digestive disorders include food allergies, acid reflux or heartburn, difficulties passing stool, blood in the stools, diarrhea, chronic constipation, a sensation of fullness, vomiting, nausea, intestinal gas or bloating, and lower or upper stomach pain. These disorders can likewise result in systemic imbalances that can cause signs and symptoms such as skin problems (dermatitis, psoriasis, or eczema), allergies, frequent flu and colds, anemia, systemic inflammation, joint pain, fatigue and many more.
A lot of people with IBS or other digestive issues erroneously believe their problem is not curable and so are resigned to the fact that they will have to cope with their condition or take drugs for the rest of their lives, oftentimes because that’s what their doctors have told them. This is simply not true. For acupuncturists, IBS and most types of digestive conditions are very treatable and in a lot instances completely curable. Moreover, this can be accomplished without the need for prescriptions drugs.
How Does Acupuncture Treat Ulcerative Colitis and other Digestive Disorders?
Before we answer that question, we need to clarify some things first. Digestive disorders are often an indication of an underlying health imbalance. Usually, they are the result of long-term severe levels of stress or a longstanding habit of eating an improper diet. This means consuming refined grains and sugar, highly processed industrial seed oils (sunflower, canola, etc.), and soy products. These types of food put pressure on the digestive system and, after a while, can finally turn into full-blown digestive conditions.
This problem can become a vicious cycle especially when a chronic digestive issue leads to inflammation and weak digestive function. If you seem to exhibit certain digestive problems, it may be a sign that you more likely are suffering from intestinal inflammation and a type of a condition known as “Leaky-gut syndrome,” where large foreign material and food particles escape via the intestinal lining triggering an immune response that leads to more food sensitivities and inflammation.
One more vicious cycle sets in when the irritation stemming in your gut makes the body incapable of braking down food efficiently. This means that your body cannot optimally absorb nutrients which may end up with you suffering from malnutrition. All these aforementioned consequences only pertain to the lower half of your abdomen. We still haven’t talked about the upper half of the digestive process.
When inflammation sets in your digestive system and the body is inefficiently absorbing nutrients, naturally your entire body begins to suffer. Nutrients are the building blocks of your health. They are what the body needs to maintain, defend, repair and strengthen your body systems. If either your body is unable to properly absorb nutrients or you’re not supplying your body adequately with the proper nutrients, the resulting malnutrition (as well as an extremely stressed immune system and the rampant inflammation) results in a slew of problems system-wide, particularly the incapacity of the body to normalize digestive function, to keep you healthy and strong and to defend and repair itself.
Enter Acupuncture Therapy
Pre determined acupuncture points are needles to alleviate symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, intestinal inflammation, bloating, and stomach pain as well as improve bowel movement (if chronically constipated), normalize abdominal acid secretion and better the strength of the gastrointestinal system. Acupuncture basically normalizes overall digestive function all without any side effects whatsoever. A well-trained acupuncturist is highly educated regarding any supplemental support that can help you. He/she can advise you to any lifestyle and dietary changes that are needed and vital in ending the vicious cycle. Acupuncture treatments along with the improvements of the body in receiving and absorbing nutrients, can aid your body systems to repair the damage to the gut and rebalance your body.
Almost all types of digestive conditions (lactose intolerance, GERD, heartburn, ulcers, diarrhea/chronic constipation, food sensitivities and allergies, Crohn’s disease and IBS) can be addressed by acupuncture. The truth is, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have acknowledged the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating dozens of typical health problems.
These organizations also noted that one of the many advantages of using acupuncture is that the number of side effects of this type of treatment is much, much lower than that of other medical procedures including several drugs such as steroid shots (for pain) and anti-inflammatory drugs and the proof in support of these conventional modalities fare no better than that of acupuncture.
Acupuncture, all in all, can give Colitis and other IBS sufferers a better and entirely natural way to maintain or get back their harmony, strength and achieve optimum digestive health.
Dr. Yelena Pakula is a licensed acupuncture doctor and the medical director of Vita-Health Acupuncture and Wellness Center in Pembroke Pines, FL.