Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a term that covers all sorts of digestive problems. It’s the most common disorder seen by gastro-enterologists and reports suggest that 10- 25% of the population in UK suffer from IBS. It’s now widely accepted amongst doctors that stress, emotional upset, traumatic life events and difficult life situations are often expressed in the gut (butterflies in the stomach for instance) via the brain-gut axis which is a ‘surveillance network’ made up cells and sensory fibres which react to stress messages from the brain and keep the digestion in balance. Our ‘flight-or-flight’ stress mechanism is one of the key messages that gets sent around this network and the organs of the body , ‘knotting up’ energy pathways as we would say in acupuncture, as do alcohol, very fatty diet, medication, poor nutrition and lack of sleep. An upset brain-gut axis can cause inflammation in the bowel and reactions to certain foods which create pain.
During treatment, I look at the person who has the problem not just the symptom itself, as we all get unwell in our own unique ways. Acupuncture smooths out the stress patterns in that person’s system, regulates the digestion and intestines and helps mental and emotional relaxation (acupuncturists have a great set of ‘urban stress points’!). Diet, supplements and herbs are also considered as part of the treatment plan.
Two research investigations have shown that acupuncture with moxibustion (heated herbs) and Chinese Herbal Medicine is more effective for IBS that conventional drug therapy.
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Health & Harmony