How Chinese Medicine Diagnoses and Treats IBS

A complex disease in which the intestines are unable to efficiently move their contents, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may lead to symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pain. Less common symptoms can include anxiety, depression, fatigue, and headaches. Symptoms may be set off by drugs, hormonal fluctuations, emotional factors, diet, and stress.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, IBS can have several possible causes. This may include Spleen imbalance. The Spleen is the organ responsible for the digestion and absorption of liquids and foods. One of its main functions is to help create Spleen Qi. This type of Qi is the one that gives nourishment and power to the entire body.

The Spleen also manufactures blood from the food it breaks down to transform it into energy that powers the body. An overworked or abused Spleen will result in lower energy levels in the body that in turn will lead to illness.

The Spleen gets easily weakened and affected by a weak constitution, too much worrying, antibiotics, and a poor diet and eating habits. When the Spleen becomes too weak to efficiently process or metabolize food, “dampness” arises in the body which causes undigested food to rot in the gut, causing a variety of symptoms. You may experience difficulty concentrating, a foggy feeling in your head, or headaches if the dampness “rises” to your head. Longstanding dampness in the body can result in fullness, bloating, and loose stools.

One other factor for IBS is Liver imbalance. The Liver, in Chinese medicine, is closely tied to emotional health. Anger and stress directly affect the Liver’s function. A poor diet, legal and illegal medications, and alcohol can compromise its functions further. When this occurs, the energy of the Liver overflows and assaults the Spleen, figuratively speaking. Your Spleen can be easily overcome if it is already in a weakened state. The can lead to stress-induced IBS.

You may experience alternating constipation and diarrhea if your Liver is compromised. You may also experience dull pain, headaches, gas, and bloating. If this is the case then your Liver, not your Spleen, is the main source of your problem.

IBS symptoms may also be brought about Kidney Yang imbalance. The warmth in your body is provided by Kidney Yang energy. This energy provides warmth to the Spleen and helps in the digestion and breakdown of food. Weak Kidney energies may lead to a sore back, weak knees, cold limbs, bladder incontinence and early-morning diarrhea.

Chinese medicine and acupuncture can provide you with a clear picture of the underlying imbalance(s) that result in IBS symptoms. Your acupuncturist will help your determine what meridian and organ systems are causing your IBS symptoms. To maximize your healing, adjunct therapies such as exercises, breathing techniques, dietary changes, herbs, and whole food supplements are recommended.

Ni Nan Healing Art Center
2579 Merrick Rd
Bellmore, NY 11710
(516) 442-7408