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(an excerpt from “What Causes Disease and What Heals” by NetMindBody.com)
The cause of disease, according to many, is a lack of circulation. Circulation here refers to the circulation of the vital force known in China as Chi. To practitioners in other parts of the world, it is also known as Prana (India), Ki (Japan), Pneuma (Ancient Greece) and a dozen or so other names.
Acupuncturists have said the cure for disease is the circulation of this vital force. The chiropractic profession calls this vital force “innate intelligence.” No matter what you call it, many health care professionals have observed that when innate intelligence or vital force is freed from blockages, healing occurs. Chiropractors traditionally use spinal adjustments to free the life energy; acupuncturists use needles on congested acupoints and other vitalistic professionals use other methods to that same end. Nutritionists recommend foods containing this life force. Homeopathic doctors give remedies to remove energy blocks to this vital life force circulation, and the list goes on.
Go to “What Heals?“.
Some lifestyle changes that may help alleviate symptoms include:
- Getting adequate exercise, which helps relieve stress, moves energy, regulates the bowels, and helps alleviate constipation.
- Practicing stress relief measures, such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or quiet time, is key to keeping IBS symptoms under control.
- Dietary changes should be individualized, and should focus on eliminating foods that trigger symptoms and adding adequate fiber to the diet. Soluble fiber is gentler on the GI tract, and includes foods such as oatmeal, berries, and legumes like lentils and garbanzo beans. Crude fiber, such as bran and raw vegetables and their skins may be too irritating, and should be monitored as a trigger for symptoms. Other foods that are common triggers include greasy or fatty foods, diary products, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and drinks that are carbonated.
- Probiotics may be helpful for some sufferers of IBS. Probiotics are supplements that replace the good bacteria in the gut necessary for digestion. A common form is Lactobacillis acidophilus, which can be found in most natural foods stores.
- Adequate sleep is important for sufferers of IBS, because stress, which is the most common trigger for IBS, is aggravated by lack of sleep. In addition, adequate sleep helps the body heal and rejuvenate.
For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of digestive disorders contact us.
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IBS according to Chinese Medicine
While other patterns may be present, IBS is almost always considered a disharmony between the liver and the spleen in traditional Chinese medicine. The liver is responsible for the smooth flow of substances throughout the body. This flow can be upset by emotions or stress, causing stagnation of Qi (energy) or blood. Traditional Chinese medicine views the spleen as being associated with the function of digestion and transforming food into energy (Qi and blood). The spleen can be weakened by a number of factors, including overeating unhealthy foods, overwork, too much worry, fatigue, and lack of exercise. When the spleen is weak and the liver is not moving smoothly, the liver overacts on the spleen and can manifest as symptoms of IBS.
A liver/spleen disharmony is similar to the short-term loss of appetite or a bout of diarrhea that occurs during an occasional emotional upset. With IBS, however, the phenomenon occurs in slow motion; the emotional trauma or stress takes place over a long period of time, and the digestive symptoms of IBS can last for years.
Practitioners of acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine may use a variety of modalities to correct a liver/spleen disharmony. They may use acupuncture, Chinese herbs, dietary therapy and lifestyle changes to facilitate healing of this condition. The herbal formula Tong Xie Yao Fang addresses the disharmony between the liver and spleen, and might be a starting point with modifications for each individual case.
For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of IBS or other digestive disorders contact us.