In the west acupuncture is associated with treating pain but there is a history and tradition of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine being used to treat digestive problems.
In 2009 I was lucky enough to study with Dr. Zhou Gengsheng a specialist in gastrointestinal medicine at the outpatients department of Zhejiang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital in Hangzhou, China. Dr. Zhou treated over 40 patients in a morning using a combination of his knowledge of bioscience and Chinese herbal formulas, some of which have been in use for over 2000 years. He treated disorders ranging from Irritable Bowell Syndrome (IBS), Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, h.pylori infection and acid reflux and made a massive difference to the quality of life of his patients.
Traditional knowledge is being increasingly supported by scientific research. Although acupuncture and Chinese medicine is rooted in ancient Chinese philosophy, the action of acupuncture points that have a direct effect on the digestive system can be demonstrated from a western understanding of how the body works.
A study in the Journal of Gastroenterology1 identified that stimulation of the acupuncture point zusanli on the stomach meridian causes muscle contractions that may be beneficial to constipation-predominant IBS sufferers while acupuncture point zhongwan causes muscle relaxation which may help diarrhea-predominant IBS sufferers. Zhongwan may also inhibit gastric secretion and aid heartburn.
A further study2 investigated the use of Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of IBS and found that using traditional herbal formulas offers improvement in symptoms for patients with IBS.
If you are interested in trying acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of gastrointestinal problems please visit: www.breath-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture. Learn more about other therapies at Breathe London by visiting: www.breath-london.com
Note: No animal products, minerals or endangered species are used only herbs of botanical origin that are of the highest quality, that contain no adulterants, are tested for heavy metals and contaminants are used.
Caution: Never treat yourself with herbal remedies without the guidance of a practitioner of herbal medicine.
1 Takahashi, T., (2005) Acupuncture for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Journal of Gastroenterology. 41 (5) 408-417.
2 Bensoussan, A., et al. (1998) Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Chinese Medicine. A Randomised Control Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association.
Simon Plant March 2011
Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC RCHM
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
Breathe London Wellbeing Centre