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Digestive Disorders

Acupuncture for Treating Leaky Gut Syndrome

Acupuncture for Treating Leaky Gut Syndrome

There are a variety of gastrointestinal and autoimmune diseases that can contribute to what is known as leaky gut syndrome. So, what exactly is leaky gut syndrome? It’s close to exactly what it sounds like. Each one of us has semi-permeable guts. What that means is the mucous lining of our intestines is designed to absorb water and nutrients from our food. Your intestinal lining is responsible for acting as a barrier to bacteria. With leaky gut syndrome, your intestinal lining “leaks” allowing more water and nutrients through, but also potentially allowing toxic molecules to come through as well.  continue reading »

GERD Awareness

Did you know that acupuncture can help with several digestive issues? Yes, it’s true!

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into your esophagus – the tube connecting your mouth and stomach.

If you suffer from this, or you’ve ever suffered with it, you might have felt hopeless and frustrated at times that there are no known causes and the only known treatments are either medications or dietary adjustments.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what causes it in the first place, so that you can start treating and healing the root cause?

Enter Chinese Medicine (CM). CM has known for thousands of years that the blueprint of many physical manifestations is an imbalance of our Qi (energy). Reflux esophagitis in CM focuses on transforming, harmonizing, and restoring the normal movement of the stomach Qi to prevent it from “rebelling” upwards. The treatment with acupuncture and/or herbs focuses on restoring the normal functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), enhancing gastric motility, and improving gastric emptying.

Stomach Qi usually rebels because of:

  1. Eating in a hurry
  2. Eating when stressed or angry
  3. Burning the midnight oil
  4. Eating while walking or standing, repeatedly and overtime
  5. Anxiety
  6. Drinking too much water with a meal or shortly after which diluted digestive enzymes make digestion very difficult.

If we take a little look at the most common lifestyle factors which cause or exacerbate GERD, or the upward rebelling of Stomach Qi, we can see that simply doing the opposite of what causes it will be helpful. Also introducing calming practices like meditation, walking in nature, and of course coming for acupuncture treatment. Because whilst changing our habits will help to prevent GERD from returning, healing the problem, and lessening the damage done by the issue is the forte of CM.

Quick At-Home Tip: Something very simple you can do at home to help yourself is after every meal, stroke down the midline from the bottom of your rib cage to the top of your belly button for about two minutes gently. This will help the Qi to move downwards instead of rebelling upwards.

Here’s some more good news: In a 2018 study Acupuncture was trialed over a period of 6 weeks with daily treatment for GERD, with a few days break in between each week of treatment, and the TCM control group fared significantly better than the Western medicine control group. There were also far fewer side effects (virtually none) in comparison to the control group who were taking Proton Pump Inhibitors and other medications for GERD.

The conclusion of the study – compared with PPIs or Prokinetics therapy alone, TCM single therapy can better improve the clinical total effective rate and symptom relief and decrease the recurrence rate and adverse events in the treatment of NERD. Our results suggest that TCM will be a promising alternative therapy for NERD patients in the future.

So, if you or someone you know is suffering from GERD, there may be hope on the horizon! Give us a call to see if we can lend a helping hand.



Xiao J, Yang Y, Zhu Y, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Traditional Chinese Medicine on Nonerosive Reflux Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:1505394. Published 2018 May 24. doi:10.1155/2018/1505394



Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and mucus in the stool.

Stress is the product of modern life. Chinese medical practitioners believe that the liver regulates the Qi flow of the body. Long term stress and sudden emotional trauma can lead to the stagnation of the Qi flow and cause all the symptoms of IBS. If a person’s spleen energy is weakened by overwork, poor diet, insufficient rest, excessive worry, then diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating will be accompanied. The liver Qi Stasis and spleen Qi Deficiency can generate Damp-Heat in the body, thus producing mucus in the stool.

The basic Chinese principle for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome is to relieve the Liver Qi Stasis, strengthen the Spleen Qi, and eliminate the Damp-Heat in the body. The Chinese formula “Tong Xie Yao Fang” is commonly prescribed for the treatment of IBS. Acupuncture treatment on the energy points of the liver, spleen and big intestine would be selected by the trained doctor to harmonize the liver and spleen Qi

The allergy or intolerance of food, leading to irritable bowel syndrome is not yet clearly understood, but certain foods have been reported to worsen the condition, such as chocolate, spices, fats, fruits, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, milk, carbonated beverages, alcohol, and should be avoided if possible.

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome can also benefit by doing meditation and practicing other stress-reduction techniques.

It is advisable before receiving Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture treatment, to have a thorough physical examination by a physician to rule out other causes of the symptoms such as chronic colitis, colon polyps, gastrointestinal tumors and other diseases.

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