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IBS And The Role Of The Spleen And Liver In Digestive Health

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Founded on the idea of harmony and balance between yin and yang, Chinese medicine uses an approach to digestive health quite different from that of modern Western medicine. Chinese medicine states that the liver is where the blood is stored. It is the organ system that normalizes the level of blood in circulation. Therefore, for nourishment, the liver’s health relies on the adequacy of blood flowing in the body.

In addition, the spleen has also a big role to play in the circulation of blood and energy or “chi.” Chi is the life energy in our bodies that flows inside the body through energy channels called meridians to various body parts and organs, thereby influential in transporting nutrients and oxygen for maintenance and nourishment of digestive health. Blood contributes to the circulation of body fluids inside the body.

Since IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is associated with transport and movement of fluid and food in the digestive system, the spleen then plays an important role in digestive health with regard to digestive disorders and digestion.

Also adequate spleen generates constructive spleen that nourished the flesh and muscles, especially in the four limbs, which therefore helps boost body movement and mobility, which promote digestion.

Over thinking and pensiveness, in Chinese medicine, impacts the spleen’s general health, leading appetite loss, and post prandial indigestion and bloating.

According to Chinese medicine, internal and external dampness can injure the spleen and weaken its functions. Foods such as dairy products and sugars, for instance, generate internal “dampness” of the spleen. The primary function of the spleen in the digestive system is to sort out the impure and pure part of the food and drink we take in. while the spleen delivers upward the pure part of the drink and food to the heart as blood and the lungs as chi, it likewise sends down the impure part of the drink and food to the abdomen and small intestine for removal to maximize digestive health.

With a healthy abdomen and spleen the chi of the spleen goes upward, while the chi of the stomach goes downward in a coordinated and balanced manner. Chinese medicine all the time espouses the importance of balance particularly the balance between yin and yang. Yin and yang and balance form the foundations of Chinese medicine.

However, nausea, stomach distention, constipation, belching can develop if there is imbalance in the upward movement. Simultaneously, the imbalance may also disrupt the normal downward movement that can result in diarrhea and stomach distention.

The liver may play a very important role in our digestive health albeit in an indirect way. It can be influenced by our emotions. More often than not, we live our lives the way we like them and oftentimes we are met by heartbreak, disappointment, sadness, and frustration. This can naturally lead to emotional distress, which can stress our liver. A clear manifestation of a dysfunctional liver is irritability or anger.

The spleen can be weakened by a poor diet and too much work as well as a sedentary lifestyle, and too much worrying.

Chinese medicine in Orlando states the underlying reason for IBS is imbalance between the spleen and liver. Consequently, the liver governs the spleen due to the smooth functioning of the chi mechanism of the body which relies on the smooth circulation of liver “qi.” Hence, spleen is adversely affected when the liver becomes depressed; conversely, the liver becomes depressed also if the spleen weakens. To put in another way, the spleen and liver connected to each other when it comes to overall wellness and digestive health. To conclude, maximizing the health of the spleen and the liver is essential in the maintenance of good digestive health.

Cooking actually is a way of predigesting food before it’s taken inside the body. According to Chinese medicine, almost all foods ought to be cooked. This is why in Chinese restaurants you would not find any salad bars. While cooking can destroy some vital nutrients, it promotes the absorption of the surviving nutrients in the body. Cold drinks and foods can weaken the spleens, and can be damaging to digestive health.

Sweets and sugars have a direct negative impact on the spleen, because they are dampness by nature. They also can be bad to digestive health.

Other damp generating foods include wheat, pasta, noodles, and bread.

All fats and oils are also damp by nature, and are not good for the health of the spleen. The same applies to dairy products including milk. They create damp in the body and are harmful to digestive health.

To keep your spleen strong and healthy, stay away from dampening foods. Instead you can eat lightly cooked veggies, low fat meat, beans, brown rice and other unrefined grains. Optimum overall health implies good digestive health.

Written by Valerie

January 30th, 2018 at 2:37 pm

Acupuncture Is A Proven Successful Treatment for Painful Symptoms of IBS

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It is easy to understand why there seems to be not enough safe and effective medical options for IBS as this condition is now considered by doctors to be merely a dysfunction (instead of a disease) and that there have been very few studies done about this health issue. There are other ways of addressing IBS besides the very important stress-reduction activities and other lifestyle changes that are required to properly manage this condition.

These include the use of alternative modes of treatment especially hypnotherapy and acupuncture. these two unique forms of treatment is always customized to specifically address the patient’s needs and are aimed at lessening the duration, severity, and frequency of the IBS attacks. A lot of patients have responded to these treatments very well which bodes well to their ever increasing use as a mainline treatment for IBS. The next part of this article will exclusively discuss about acupuncture.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a treatment that can only be administered by a licensed acupuncturist. This practitioner is trained in using a variety of tools although needles are his/her primary treatment tools. These needles are inserted into corresponding points in the body wherein lie pathways of energy known as meridians in which the body’s vital energy called chi or qi flows. When a meridian is stimulated by a needle, mental and physical processes are initiated which results in the normalization of certain bodily functions and in the calming of the mind. Acupuncture is the process of sedating or stimulating the meridians in order to balance the flow of qi in the body.

Traditional Chinese medicine’s view of acupuncture mirrors the belief that the body is a holistic and complex spiritual/emotional/mental/ physical system, balanced between sickness and health in a continuous flux of energy. Based on this perspective, natural energy flow occasionally becomes imbalanced which results in disorder or disease. Used oftentimes along with food medicine and Chinese herbal remedies, acupuncture brings back health by improving and balancing the flow of qi, and restoring the normal function of organs, glands, vessels, nerves, and muscles.

Blockages to qi and blood flow are removed and the circulation of qi is enhanced with acupuncture treatment. This is done with the superficial insertion of sterile filiform needles from a depth of just beneath the skin to about an inch, at specific acupuncture points along the meridians. To avoid the risk of injury or infection, it is important to select a qualified acupuncturist who only uses disposable, single-use, sterile needles.

There are over 2,000 acupuncture points scattered throughout the body and each point is connected to a specific organ system or internal organ. Some patients may experience nothing or a feeling of heaviness, warmth, aching, or tingling as the acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin. Pain is rarely experienced and most of the time an unusual or odd physical sensation is felt by patients that is not unpleasant. Depending on the condition and the severity of the symptoms one to twenty needles may be used in a single treatment. Some acupuncturists may use burning moxa leaves over the needles, or twist or heat the needles to augment the effect of the treatment. One session may last for as short as five minutes to as long as a full hour. The needles are left inserted in the skin for around 20 to 40 minutes.

The acupuncturist will decide the frequency and number of treatments needed for treating IBS. His/her decision will be based on how long you’ve had the condition and on the magnitude of your symptoms. The number of sessions may vary from a single session to several treatments a week, for several months. On average IBS patients require a total of six treatments to relieve their painful symptoms. if after 10 sessions, the condition has still not improved , the treatment is considered unsuccessful and is discontinued. If results are shown, the practitioner will recommend a continuation of therapy. As the IBS symptoms decrease, the number of treatments becomes less frequent over time although maintenance treatments may be needed at certain intervals.

DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic
2929 SW 3rd Ave #610
Miami, FL 33129
(305) 677-3214
http://www.miamiacupunctureclinic.com/

Written by Valerie

March 26th, 2016 at 9:01 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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Acupuncture and TCM can provide the patient relief of IBD or IBS symptoms

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Digestive disorders that can include Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have been plaguing millions of individuals in the United States every year. IBS is actually the next leading cause of absenteeism in work or school just behind back pain. For IBD, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine is very beneficial in enabling sufferers of IBD to lead stress free and pain free lives. Although these two conditions have almost the same names, quite very significant differences exist between them.

IBS is essentially a 100% functional gastrointestinal disorder. This signifies that, according to Western medical theory, this condition has no identified infectious, biochemical or anatomical cause. IBS is considered a syndrome which means that the diagnosis is based on a pattern of symptoms that usually manifest together. The main symptoms of this condition include constipation, diarrhea, bloating, flatulence or stomach pain. The discomfort is usually caused by eating and soothed once the person has performed a bowel movement.

IBD encompasses the conditions of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease and is a chronic inflammatory disease that involves the digestive tract’s mucosal membranes. For Ulcerative Colitis, the outer layers of the colon’s mucus membranes are affected. For Crohn’s Disease, on the other hand, the inflammation impacts the entire tissue of the tract and besides affecting the colon and distal ileum of the small intestine, this disease can also develop at any area along the digestive tract. IBD symptoms are quite severe and if left untreated can result in hospitalization. These symptoms usually involve stomach cramping, constant diarrhea, mucus or blood in stools and an increased need to defecate. The loss of blood due to IBD should be particularly heeded to guarantee the patient’s wellbeing. Diagnosis depends on the verified manifestation of ulceration through x-ray or during a colonoscopy.

Lifestyle and dietary modifications, drugs and surgery are Western medicine’s mode of treatment for IBD. Stress is a major contributor in the flare up of symptoms even if for IBS or IBD, there is no known cause. From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), these diseases fall mainly primarily under the category of a spleen disorder. TCM sees the spleen as the organ that governs the transportation and transformation of the food we consume. This simply means that the spleen is a major player in the digestion and assimilation of nutrients of food into the body. A dysfunctional spleen results in gastrointestinal difficulties as in IBD or IBS symptoms. The huge role of stress in contributing to the exacerbation of the symptoms likewise indicates that either digestive capabilities of the spleen are overwhelmed or the liver’s function is impaired. The liver controls the smooth flow of energy or Qi in the body. When qi flow is blocked or erratic, it can impact the different systems of the body.

Acupuncture and TCM is used to strengthen and tonify the spleen while at the same time help to relax the liver so that Qi can flow freely and normally once more. Furthermore, other symptoms are resolved via a treatment designed to restore normal bowel movements, remove bloating and gas, reduce inflammation and stop bleeding in the gut.

Acupuncture and TCM can provide the patient relief of IBD or IBS symptoms. Still, there are some simple things you can do to manage your condition and improve the quality of your life.

  1. Join a support group and talk about your condition with others who suffer the same conditions. This can be very helpful and can help you cope a lot better with the effects of these diseases. Besides that, having a support group can mean finding other therapies that may work for you, finding doctors that are trustworthy , getting tips or hints about living with these diseases that can produce an excellent environment for genuine emotional and physical healing. One can discover support groups in or near his/her area by looking at the website of certain foundations for IBD and IBS.
  1. Herbal remedies. When dealing with digestive conditions, chamomile can help relieve stomach cramping, reduce inflammation and ease the nerves. Turmeric is another potent herb that can be used to lessen the damage wrought by the inflammation. One other good remedy to help lessen stomach discomfort from gas and bloating is a high quality probiotic.
  1. Dietary modifications – although this may be the hardest thing to make and maintain changing one’s diet does produce a substantial positive effect on gastrointestinal diseases. The one issue is that there is no diet that is effective for everyone. Record your symptoms and what you eat in a journal or diary and you ought to be able to eventually form a picture of the food that triggers your condition. Some simple suggestions include avoiding eating difficult to digest foods such as seeds or nuts, alcohol and refined sugars. The alcohol and sugar can result in inflammation in the system while the difficult to digest foods can further weaken an already fragile system.
  1. Exercise – exercise can definitely lower or even eliminate stress in your body and mind. Yoga is especially useful because a lot of the motions and poses involve twisting motions that actually massage the intestines and help improve circulation to the gut.
  1. Lessen your stress levels – We now know stress can have a huge effect on your gastrointestinal well being. The best thing you can do is to extricate yourself from situations that cause stress in your mind and body. Meditation or breathing techniques can help lessen the negative effects of stress and the severity of digestive diseases symptoms. Some health experts recommend mantra and hypnosis to help alleviate stress in persons who suffer from IBD or IBS.

IBD, IBS and other digestive diseases can negatively impact your physical condition as well as your emotional state. Although there may not be a specific cause or cure yet for these conditions, there are several choices out there to help you cope well with them. Acupuncture and TCM are just two of those modalities although their emphasis on whole body balance and natural wellness may be what you really need to treat your gastrointestinal disease.

 

Vickery Health & Wellness
18455 Burbank Blvd #306
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 578-6730
http://www.vickeryhealth.com

Written by Valerie

October 21st, 2014 at 5:10 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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Acupuncture for IBS

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The more recent studies involving Chinese medicine treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) showed consistent positive results. These studies validated the effectiveness of Chinese medicine in treating IBS in a drug-free and safe way.

What is IBS?

Also known as mucus colitis or spastic colon, IBS is considered a syndrome because it consists of a collection of symptoms that differs for each affected person. This condition causes an abnormal movement of the large and small intestines. IBS manifests symptoms such as alternating instances of diarrhea and constipation, pain and stomach cramping. It can also come with other gastrointestinal conditions like nausea, bloating and flatulence. Stress always exacerbates the aforementioned symptoms after the sufferer eats; the symptoms are oftentimes relieved after he/she does bowel function.  In the United States about 10% – 20% of the population suffers from IBS symptoms, with women thrice more likely to have it than men.

Western medicine does not know what exactly causes IBS although medical researchers are certain that IBS is not caused by structural issues and is neither infectious nor biochemical in nature. These scientists are considering that a neurological connection exists between the gastrointestinal system and the brain and this may be the reason why episodes of IBS oftentimes arise during times if stress or emotional pressures.

Chinese Medicine View of IBS

Despite other patterns of disorder are evident, IBS is primarily seen as a disharmony between the spleen and the liver in traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) considers the spleen as having an association with the digestive function and converting food into energy (blood and Qi). Through factors like lack of exercise, fatigue, over worrying, overwork and too much eating of unhealthy foods, the spleen can become considerably weak. The liver controls the normal flow of materials throughout the body. Stress or high or low emotions can upset this flow leading to stagnation of blood and energy known as qi. When the liver dysfunctions and the spleen is weak, the liver overacts on the spleen and this leads to IBS symptoms.

A spleen/ liver imbalance is the same to an episode of diarrhea or the short-term loss of appetite that happens when the person experiences an occasional emotional upset. During IBS, this condition occurs quite slowly with the stress or emotional condition taking place over an extended amount of time, and the symptoms of IBS potentially enduring for years.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists may utilize a number of modalities to rectify the spleen/liver imbalance.  They may use Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture and recommend lifestyle changes or dietary therapy to effectively heal the condition. Tong Xie Yao Fang which is an herbal mixture can treat the spleen and liver disharmony and can be a starting point with alterations on a case to case basis.

Certain modifications to lifestyle changes that can aid in relieving symptoms include:

Adequate sleep – this is a must for IBS sufferers to help lessen stress in the body. As mentioned before, stress can trigger IBS symptoms and stress can come about from lack of sleep.  Adequate sleep furthermore, assists the body to rejuvenate and heal.

Probiotics – Probiotics are supplements that help replenish the diminished good bacteria residing in your gut. Lactobacilli Shirota strain and Lactobacilli acidophilus are beneficial bacteria that are readily available in natural foods stores.

Diet modifications – an individualized type of dietary therapy that removes foods that cause the symptoms and that add sufficient amounts of fiber to the diet are good for the control and treatment of IBS. Fiber that is soluble and light on the GI pathway are recommended. These foods may include garbanzo beans, legumes like lentils, berries and oatmeal. Raw vegetables, bran and crude fiber foods can be very irritating and needs to be observed since they may potentially trigger symptoms. Some other typical food triggers include carbonated drinks, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products and fatty or greasy foods.

Performing stress relief activities – these can include quiet time, breathing exercises, yoga or meditation can help keep the symptoms under control.

Getting adequate exercise – they can aid in the relief of stress. Exercise can help relieve constipation, normalize the bowels, and move energy.

 

Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness Center in central Florida.

Written by Valerie

June 12th, 2014 at 7:41 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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