Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is signified by the symptoms, such as bloating, chronic abdominal pain, altered bowel habits, and flatulence. This disorder affects mostly in the intestines and is caused by the lack of visible structural abnormality. One way to treat it is through acupuncture.
The condition is commonly found among females than males from all walks of life including but usually appears during adolescence or early adulthood. Those who have a low-fiber diet, use laxatives, exposed to emotional stress, or suffer from diarrhea tend to suffer from this disorder. IBS is a recurrent disorder that can wreak havoc on the physical, financial, and social aspects of the patients’ lives. It causes impairment and pain that require frequent doctor visits, extended hospital stays, absenteeism from work, and even depression.
While the causes are still unclear, the bowel’s sensory nerves become hypersensitive for those who suffer from this digestive disorder. Those nerves also tend to overreact every time the bowel wall stretches. The intestinal muscles may grow hyperactive or hypoactive, leading to flatulence, cramping, pain, diarrhea, and constipation.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practice focusing on the balance of Chi, or life force, in the body. It is administered by a trained practitioner who stimulates various acupuncture points along the energy meridians, where the chi flows, using disposable, fine needles. These meridians determine the physical and mental processes within the body.
As the acupuncturist inserts the needles into the acupuncture points, the patient may feel minimal tingling, warmth, aching or heaviness, or nothing at all. Most patients choose this alternative treatment reported odd but not unpleasant feeling. An acupuncture session may use one to twenty needles and may last from 5 to 60 minutes, depending on the condition and overall health of the patient.
Research has shown that acupuncture can help in the following ways:
- Allow patients to feel better with pain relief.
- Restoring full mobility to the digestive tract.
- Improving parasympathetic tone. Stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, causing colon spasms and abdominal discomfort. IBS causes the colon to be hypersensitive to even the slightest amount of stress. Acupuncture stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes the body to relax and digest well.
- Increasing the sensory threshold of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Easing anxiety and depression. When the symptoms of IBS show up, this might start an anxiety-pain-anxiety cycle that might lead to depression in the long run. Acupuncture can relieve all the symptoms of this disorder by changing the mood chemistry of the brain, increasing the release of endorphins and serotonins, making it an effective treatment for IBS.
One research studied the effect of acupuncture against that of relaxation therapy and found that there is an improvement in their gastrointestinal symptom and quality-of-life scores, with abdominal pain relief. This however concluded that acupuncture is an effective therapy, particularly when it comes to the symptoms and stress involved with the condition.
- can be as an alternative therapy, can be safely used with Western biomedicine and other suggested treatments such as herbal medicine and relaxation exercises.
- would require a change in dietary and lifestyle habits.
- change your negative health habits and improve your way of coping with IBS, making the treatment a less daunting experience for you.
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