Acupuncture and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Do you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), an estimated 25-45 million people in the United States have IBS1. This all-too-common disease is characterized by chronic stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, excess gas, and irregular bowel movements. While there's no known cure for IBS, however, acupuncture may offer relief.
A recent study conducted by researchers in the U.K. found acupuncture to offer relief of IBS symptoms. For the study, researchers split 233 IBS patients into two groups, one of which receive acupuncture plus the usual care, while the second group strictly received the usual care.
Researchers in the study2 conclude...
"Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome provided an additional benefit over usual care alone. The magnitude of the effect was sustained over the longer term. Acupuncture should be considered as a treatment option to be offered in primary care alongside other evidenced based treatments."
So, how is this Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) able to treat IBS? Traditional Chinese belief states that our bodies have an active energy force (Qi) which connects our organs and vital systems. Normally, Qi flows without obstruction, traveling along defined paths known as the meridian system. When a blockage occurs within the body, blood becomes stagnant and systems are vulnerable to disease and illness, which is where acupuncture comes into play.
Acupuncture involves the placement of thin needles in specific areas of the body, rightfully known as acupuncture points. While the exact number of acupuncture points has fluctuated over the years, TCM practitioners give the ballpark figure of roughly 2,000, all of which are spread across 12 major meridians and 8 secondary meridians. The primary function of acupuncture is to restore Qi by correcting blockages in the meridians. When Qi begins to flow, diseases and health conditions such as IBS correct themselves.
Will acupuncture cure your IBS? There's not enough evidence to definitively say that it's a cure for IBS. However, numerous studies, including the one cited above, attest to the healing power of acupuncture. Whether you experience minor or severe symptoms as a result of IBS, you should consider seeking acupuncture. It's a safe, painless and highly effective way to treat a wide variety of diseases, only one of which is Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
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