Good digestion in Chinese medicine is a sign of health and vitality.
74% of Americans suffer from some kind type of digestive disorder and it is on the rise!
It can seem to appear out of nowhere: after a trip or a little “food poisoning”, a cold or stomach virus… what was once okay to eat, now seems to be an issue. Suddenly you have to watch what you eat and are afraid to eat certain foods that you love because it causes the feeling of bloating, gas, cramping, heartburn, irregular bathroom habits, even weight gain. And while you can be healthy in all respects your stomach is becoming more and more sensitive.
Why should you take this topic seriously? Poor digestion leads to mal absorption, diminished metabolism and lowered immunity. Over time this can have a long term devastating effect on your health.
Digestive health is a sign of strength and vitality, the key to a long and healthy life is a strong stomach.
The ancient Chinese medicine practioners understood the complex nature of the body’s systems and how digestion plays a crucial role in health and longevity. Through careful observation they recognized various “diseases” according to how the pathogen progressed, as well as how food, emotions and constitutional strength would influence recovery.
The ability to take in “Food qi” known as “Gu-Qi” and transform it into “Nutritive Qi” known as “Ying Qi” is one of the main focuses in Chinese medicine. Nutritive Qi flows in the blood vessels. The nature of this qi is to transform the food (nutrients) into nourishment (vitamins, minerals, enzymes) for the blood to absorb for the sustenance of the cells and the organs. Today we understand this as vitamins, minerals, sugars and enzymes that are converted to energy or ATP. Digestive health plays a big role in the body’s ability to maintain health.
Taking steps to enhance your digestive system along with, regular acupuncture treatments, including herbs/ nutrients and rest will make a significant difference and help to regulate and restore a low performing system. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the findings of a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial noting that Chinese herbal medicine “offer(s) improvements in symptoms for some patients with IBS.” The study represents a joint effort by gastroenterologists and herbalists.
Ying Qi or nutritive Qi plays a crucial role in developing a strong immunity/ Wei-qi. Maintaining good digestion for “nutritive qi” and strength and the key to health!
To stay healthy and strong we have to support Ying Qi and our Wei qi
- Eat good quality food in appropriate amounts
- Invest in a good probiotics (not just yogurt)
- Sleep well and regularly
- Manage stress, and hours working (This is a big one!)
- Exercise regularly, but not if you are exhausted it is counter productive
- If you are ill then rest, take the time to get better. Get acupuncture sessions and support your body by giving it time to truly recover. (This is another big one!)
- Keep an optimistic outlook, stress and negative thoughts are toxic
- Regular weekly or bi- monthly acupuncture sessions promote good digestion, support and strengthen immunity. Scientific research shows that acupuncture increases the white blood cells in the body and moderated the immune system allowing it to respond immediately to threats.
Long term stress and anxiety are major contributors to chronic digestive problems.
Diet is not enough, just eating “carefully” or being healthy doesn’t address one of the main underlying triggers which is stress and anxiety.
While there are other factors that contribute to IBS, anxiety and preoccupation with continuing symptoms can set up a vicious cycle.
“Before getting treated with acupuncture I used to be afraid of taking a subway; ‘What if the train gets stuck and I have an attack?’ Now I feel free.”
Do you have a disordered digestive system, IBS, colitis, Crohns?
Because there are usually no physical signs to definitively diagnose IBS, diagnosis is often a process of ruling out other conditions. Experiencing pain and cramping along with irregular bowel movements over a 3 month period. (This can be a sign of more serious underlying condition and it is advisable to get checked out by a western physician.)
Research has shown acupuncture to be effective in alleviating digestive disorders such as IBS. The research showed 86% improvement rate with the acupuncture group compared to the drug group at 50% improvement!
If you have tried to cut out gluten, and dairy, tried fiber, teas, over the counter anti-acids, and still experience bloating, gas, cramping, heartburn, anxiety, depression, increased food sensitivity, constipation and diarrhea, weight gain or loss, you may have a disordered digestive system.
This can be caused by long term stress, recurrent infections (sinus, allergy, sore throats, ear congestion, bladder infections, yeast…etc.), excessive use of antibiotics, chemo therapy, surgical operations, autoimmune syndromes and emotional depression all reduce our resistance to disease and affect the digestive system.
In these cases the list above will not be enough. You will also need to increase acupuncture treatments to weekly sessions for several months and perhaps add immune and digestion enhancing herbs or nutrients.
Regular acupuncture helps balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system responsible for regulating the body’s functions. It improves sleep, concentration, energy, emotional moodiness, balances the hormones and promotes a positive outlook.
A healthy body is one that is balanced physically, emotionally, energetically and spiritually. A healthy digestive system equals a balanced body and has a strong and effective immune system.
Be proactive about your health and schedule some acupuncture sessions to strengthen your digestion and boost your immune system, your future self will thank you!