Natural Health Journals

Using Acupuncture to Treat Digestive Disorders

By Marc Courtiol

With the typical Western diet being largely unhealthy, the incidences of digestive disorders continue to rise each year. Sometimes, traditional medical treatments do not sufficiently treat, or cure, these disorders. In other cases, people are simply looking for alternative treatments that do not involve taking medication. Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that has become increasingly popular for people who are suffering from a variety of conditions.

Acupuncture is a natural treatment process in which fine needles are inserted into designated points on the body. It is an ancient Chinese medical practice that is believed to help align our bodies and bring about homeostasis, or balance. In addition to providing overall balance and a sense of well being, acupuncture helps to stimulate our healing energies to improve organ function.

Traditional Chinese medicine promotes the belief that the spleen is the primary organ involved in gastrointestinal function. The reason for this is that the spleen is responsible for transporting food in the body and helping it to eliminate waste. When the balance between the spleen and the stomach is disrupted, gastrointestinal distress is likely to occur. This type of distress may also occur along with any disruptions to the function of the liver.

Acupuncture helps to bring about balance within the gastrointestinal system because the practice focuses on specific points on the body. By inserting needles just below the surface of the skin at precise locations, gastrointestinal muscle contraction helps to reduce gastric acid secretion, as well as promote relaxation, which collectively act to help alleviate digestive symptoms.

Generally, a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine are used to treat digestive problems, but it is possible to obtain relief from digestive symptoms with acupuncture as a stand-alone treatment. If you do decide to try herbal medicine, make sure that you have a thorough exam and consultation with an acupuncture specialist so that you can discuss your health conditions, current medications, and any supplements that you may be taking. It is very important that you do this because some herbal treatments may interact negatively with over the counter and prescription drugs.

Acupuncture has been successfully used to treat the following types of digestive disorders:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Heartburn
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Inflammatory conditions (such as gastritis)
  • Inflammatory diseases (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • Ulcers

There are a wide variety of other conditions that may be helped through the treatment of acupuncture. If you are suffering from a condition and you are seeking alternative, drug-free treatments, you might want to consider seeking the advice of a trained acupuncturist.

It is important that you thoroughly check the credentials of any acupuncturist that you are thinking about going to for treatment, however. You want to be sure that you enlist the services of a highly trained professional, preferably one who is trained in both Chinese and Western medicine. You can usually find out all of the information you need by conducting a search online. If you can’t find out whether a practitioner is duly licensed or not, do not go to that person for treatment.

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