Acupuncture Is A Natural Cure For IBS

Acupuncture is A Natural Cure For IBS

As an IBS specialist using so-called alternative methods, I get a lot of questions as to what it is that I do that cures people. First, a few facts:

–It is currently estimated that 20% of the population, or one in five people, suffers from this condition.
–70% of those are women.
–Allopathic medicine can do little for this distressing condition. (Medication for it is, at best, is hit-or-miss).

Happily, more and more people are turning to their own body’s innate healing ability to cure themselves, rather than depending on chemical solutions that:

  1. Rarely, if ever, actually cure the problem so much as mask it
  2. Suppress the immune system by overriding it.
  3. Damage the body further, creating a need for secondary drugs and setting up a cycle of dependency on doctors, hospitals and a dysfunctional health care system.

In contrast to this, I utilize a 3-pronged approach with Irritable Bowel Syndrome using hypnosis, acupuncture and targeted organic supplements. Since this protocol has three components I will write about it in three posts. In this one I will discuss just how acupuncture alleviates symptoms of IBS

How Acupuncture Works:
Western medicine still doesn’t quite know how acupuncture alleviates the symptoms of IBS. We know it affects the nervous system by stimulating the release of endorphin, a naturally occurring chemical in the body that blocks pain signals in the brain and spinal cord. Research has shown that acupuncture treatment creates shifts in the conduction of electromagnetic signals in the brain, an alteration of blood circulation within the brain that increases blood flow to the thalamus (the area associated with relaying pain and other sensory impulses) and measurable differences in the brain’s output of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and of inflammation-causing substances such as prostoglandins.

Both the National Institute of Health Consensus Panel and World Health Organization have, separately, identified conditions that are appropriate for acupuncture treatment. Several of these directly pertain to IBS, including:

Abdominal pain
Muscle cramping

In addition, acupuncture has also been deemed an way of reducing stress and related problems that are often triggers for IBS symptoms such as:

Stress symptoms
Premenstrual Syndrome.

Acupuncture clinical studies and IBS

At least one study has directly investigated the use of acupuncture versus relaxation therapy in IBS patients.* This research found that patients’ quality-of-life and gastrointestinal symptom scores were equally improved in both groups, with a statistically significant reduction in abdominal pain. However, when the patients were followed for a 4-week post-trial period, only in the acupuncture group did pain reduction persist. Furthermore, a significant reduction in stress perception was also observed in the acupuncture group, but not in the relaxation group. The conclusion drawn was that acupuncture is an effective form of treatment for IBS, particularly the pain and stress symptoms, and that its benefits exceed those of standard relaxation treatment.

*(In a randomized controlled trial of 27 patients with IBS diagnosed by their own criteria, the study treated the patients with acupuncture or relaxation sessions 3 times a week for a period of 2 weeks. A follow-up observation run was then performed for 4 weeks. (Lu B, Hu Y, Tenner S. A randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome. Program and abstrats of the 65th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology; October 16-18, 2000, New York, NY)

I hope this helped give you some insight as to how acupuncture can deliver relief for IBS. In my next two posts I will discuss the ways in which hypnosis and targeted supplements can and do help ease that condition.