Digestive Disorders -- IBS, Crohn's Disease, Constipation, Diarrhea Chronic, Diverticulitis, Hemorrhoids, Bloating, Bad Breath
Please keep in mind that Chinese medicine is very different in principles, concepts, language, and treatment methods from western medicine. The information here is intended for the lay people who have no knowledge about Chinese medicine, therefore this discussion must be limited in scope and depth. The purpose is to impart the relevant information and to help you gain a general understanding, from your standpoint as a potential patient of Chinese medicine, how Chinese medicine views and diagnoses this condition of interest and what you can expect from a treatment if you decide to become a patient of our clinic.
Below are brief explanations of some common terms and concepts in Chinese medicine diagnosis that you would come across in a reading. This also helps you to understand better the discussion on this page.
- Qi - means energy. Qi is the universal energy that pervades within and without us everywhere in this realm of existence. Strictly speaking in our body, qi is the vital force that causes all movements, activities, functions, growth, development, control, check and balance, nourishment, protection, and transformation.
- Yin - pertains to the material basis of our body.
- Yang - pertains to the energetic, functional aspect of our body.
- Damp - refers to moisture in the body. The mentioning of damp in a diagnosis usually refers to an excessive accumulation that consequently produces problems.
- Heat, cold - temperature in our body. The mentioning of temperature in a diagnosis usually indicates an extreme level of imbalance.
- Wind - exists naturally in our body. The mentioning of wind in a diagnosis indicates an imbalance has occurred which causes the activity of wind to become excessive or in severe cases out of control.
- Meridian - another term for energy channel.
Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, constipation, chronic diarrhea, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, bloating, bad breath are digestive system disorders and have many common underlying imbalances according to Chinese medicine, therefore they are grouped together in this discussion. People who have chronic digestive disorders usually already have developed a quite complex picture of health imbalances. In other words, many organs, meridians, and aspects of the body are involved - it is not limited to just digestion.
Digestive disorders are the result of a combination of several imbalances:
- Qi and blood stagnation of liver, small intestine, large intestine, stomach, gallbladder, lung, kidney, heart, spleen channels
- Excessive build up of damp (present in practically all digestive disorders at varying severity)
- Excessive build up of heat and toxins (bad breath, Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, constipation)
- Deficiency of spleen qi, kidney qi, lung qi (IBS, chronic diarrhea, hemorrhoids, bloating, constipation)
- Deficiency of spleen yang, kidney yang (IBS, chronic diarrhea, hemorrhoids where bleeding and inflammation are absent, and constipation with significant cold)
- Yin deficiency (constipation due to aging, long term illness, treatment procedures such as chemo/radiation)
- Blood deficiency (constipation due to heavy menstruation, after childbirth, or hemorrhage due to whatever cause)
- Body fluid deficiency (constipation due to dehydration, aging, long term illness, treatment procedures such as chemo/radiation)
In treating digestive disorders, we use acupuncture and Chinese herbs to achieve these healing effects:
- Open and regulate the entire energy system, especially the digestive channels.
- Move qi and blood in the digestive channels.
- Clear heat and toxins (especially for bad breath, Crohn's disease, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, and some cases of constipation)
- Disperse qi stagnation.
- Break up blood stagnation.
- Stop bleeding, pain, and inflammation.
- Clear damp.
- Build qi and nourish blood.
- Nourish yin and/or yang.
- Replenish body fluid.
- Moxibustion is the burning of moxa herb usually above the navel or kidney area on the back. It is commonly used for cases involving deficiency of yang or with significant cold. Because moxibustion produces an excessive amount of smoke, it is currently not available at our clinic due to building regulations. We hope to have a workable facility to provide moxibustion in the near future.
- Bloodletting is used to induce bleeding to quickly reduce heat, toxins, inflammation, and pain in severe cases of hemorrhoids.
- Probiotics is an important supplement to take daily. A common mistake many people make is taking probiotics with or right after a meal. Probiotics are helpful scavengers and their job is to clean up your intestines by eating up the gunk, toxicities, unwanted pathogens and wastes in the intestinal tracts. Therefore, make sure you take probiotics far away from mealtime. You would want to feed them wastes, not your nutritious meal!
The initial course of treatment comprises of six to twelve weekly sessions depending on the severity. This treatment always requires a long period of maintenance after the initial phase to sustain progress and to support the digestive system in healing. Utmost care and attention must be given to the diet as well as exercise. Keeping a healthy, clean, and fiber rich diet is essential. Eliminating dairy, fat, and any mucus producing foods is a must.
Beyond the physical, emotional healing is vitally important for digestive disorder sufferers. At the physical level, intestines are organs of elimination of physical waste matter. Problems develop when stagnation occurs and inhibits the organs' ability to move and eliminate waste out of the body. This dysfunctional pattern invariably presents itself at the emotional level. Typically, there are significant emotional issues in the life history of digestive disorder patients. Usually the emotional trauma is repressed, inhibiting the emotional energies from expressing and releasing themselves. This creates emotional constipation and if allowed to persist long enough, further produces emotional inflammation, pain, putrefaction and toxicities. This pattern of disorder at the emotional level eventually works itself down to the physical level of manifestation. The willingness of these patients to heal their emotional life is extremely important if they want to heal their digestive system properly.
An in-depth assessment and individually tailored treatment recommendation are conducted in person as there may be pre/existing factors of one's health that influence the condition of interest.