Benefits of Acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a long-term gastrointestinal disorder that affects the small intestines. According to Healthline, IBS affects 6-18% of people around the world and can often be a challenge to treat. A patient’s symptoms and triggers may vary, and medications might not provide relief for everyone affected by IBS. When IBS becomes more severe, medication and alternative treatments may be necessary. A common treatment is acupuncture for IBS.
Causes of IBS
IBS can develop at any time in a person’s life but is most common to occur in a person’s 20’s to 30’s. There are various causes of IBS including diet, environmental factors, hormones, muscle contractions in the intestine, nervous system issues, inflammation in the intestines, severe infection, or changes in bacteria in the gut.
Symptoms of IBS Include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Pain and Cramping
- Changes in Bowel Movements
- Gas and Bloating
- Anxiety and Depression
Types of IBS include:
- IBS-C – Abdominal discomfort and pain, bloating, and constipation
- IBS-D – Abdominal discomfort and pain, as well as diarrhea
- IBS-A – Intermittent symptoms of both IBS-C and IBS-D
Acupuncture for IBS
Traditional Chinese medicine describes acupuncture as a tool to balance your body’s energy flow. The energy flows through the body in pathways. When needles are used at specific points on these pathways, it is believed it will re-balance the body’s energy flow and resolve symptoms.
Acupuncture is a drug-free therapy and is considered a safe treatment. Studies have shown its effectiveness in treating various IBS symptoms, including abdominal pain and intestinal motility. Many people use acupuncture as a form of relief from IBS.
Studies on the Benefits of Acupuncture for IBS
There have been multiple studies conducted on the effectiveness of acupuncture for IBS. According to Healthcare Medicine Institute, a controlled study conducted by Yiwu Central Hospital researchers found that acupuncture has a 90.7% total effective rate for IBS-D patients. More importantly, it was concluded that acupuncture produces a 34.9% overall recovery rate.
Before Beginning Acupuncture for IBS
Before you begin your acupuncture treatment for IBS, we need to understand your unique situation, symptoms, and how the condition has developed. Your acupuncturist will discuss your medical history, including symptoms, previous treatments, and medications.
Providing information about your current diet will help your acupuncturist understand any food allergens that could trigger your symptoms, the most common being dairy, wheat, corn, soy, eggs, and peanuts. It will likely be recommended that you start a food journal and try an anti-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammatory diet replaces refined and food high in sugar with whole food filled with nutrients that is soothing to the digestive system.
Since stress is one of the factors that could play into IBS symptoms, your acupuncturist will likely discuss lifestyle stress management. Some of these techniques could include meditation, journaling, and creative pursuits.
Acupuncture for IBS
An acupuncture protocol called ‘the diamond treatment’ is often used to treat IBS. It includes three acupuncture points that help patients cope with IBS. These points will help relieve several IBS symptoms, including gas, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, and more.
1.) Conception Vessel 12 (CV 12)
Also known as Tsusanli, the CV 12 acupuncture point is on a meridian that goes up the anterior midline of the body and is great for supporting better digestion by activating the stomach.
2.) Stomach 25
The Stomach 25 point is Tian Shu, which translates to “heaven’s pivot.” This point is where the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract meet and is especially good for constipation and diarrhea.
3.) Conception Vessel 6 (CV 6)
The CV 6 acupuncture point is known as Sea of Qi. This point can be found two fingers width below the navel and helps move stuck energy in the lower abdomen.
Another common practice for IBS is the Arvigo technique. This technique is used to restore the body’s natural balance by positioning organs that have shifted and limit the flow of blood, nerve, lymph, and energy. It is a deep massage to help loosen tight muscles surrounding the stomach and arteries. Our colleagues at Full Circle Holistic, located within Common Ground Wellness, will perform the technique on you and also instruct you on how to massage yourself at home to relieve IBS symptoms.
Herbs and Supplements for IBS
Chinese herbal formulas have been known to help relieve IBS symptoms in conjunction with acupuncture. Herbal formulas can help soothe muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, regulate neurotransmitters, reduce intestinal inflammation, and restore intestinal flora.
Questions About the Benefits of Acupuncture for IBS
If you have additional questions about the benefits of acupuncture treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to schedule a consultation and discuss your individual needs and situation.