Too often we dismiss the embarrassing symptoms of bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhoea or indigestion and we (over) use anti-acid pills or laxatives. Medications provide a quick fix but can allow the problem to become chronic and sometimes evolve into more serious issues such as IBS, ulcerative colitis or even colon cancer.
In Chinese Medicine, a healthy digestion is considered crucial for your energy levels, immune resistance and overall mood and its use to help these disorders is becoming more common place in Europe.
Paula, a sales manager on the Coast, used acupuncture for her IBS. She reported that “after suffering from IBS for a couple of years I had become reliant on laxatives. Medical tests had shown nothing and I was becoming frustrated as my condition was not improving. I knew certain foods triggered my symptoms but still found it hard to manage the IBS especially if I was stressed or traveling and eating at irregular times.
After starting the acupuncture, not only was I more regular and less bloated but I also found treatment very relaxing which also helped since stress was contributing to my symptoms. After about six sessions I had no symptom for about two weeks, a massive improvement. I also felt more energized and relaxed. Acupuncture has certainly been the most effective treatment for my IBS and although it is no longer a constant problem, I know that if it flares up I can contact Carole to get me back on track!”
In Chinese Medicine, the main contributing factors to poor digestion are:
Stress: stimulates the release of adrenalin which can stop your digestive system from working properly and lead to chronic conditions like IBS and constipation.
Diet: That what we eat affects our digestion is obvious but rather than advocating one ideal diet, Chinese Medicine looks at the whole person so specific dietary suggestion can be made. While some people may eat mildly spicy food, others should avoid chilli altogether, or may need more protein.
Climate: Most people are unaware of the effect of weather and temperature on digestion but cold, draughty conditions can weaken digestion and hot weather can cause bloating and water retention.
Carole’s 5 tips for better digestion:
1. Avoid cold foods: the stomach needs moisture and warmth for good digestion and cold raw foods or ice cold drinks may often worsen symptoms.
2. Chew and eat slowly: Chewing breaks down the food and mixes it with the enzymes in your saliva so that your body does not have to work so hard after you swallow.
3. Don’t eat on the run as you will often chew less and choose unbalanced meals, adding stress to your digestion.
4. Keep fruit separate: eaten with or directly after a meal they will begin to ferment, causing bloating and wind.
5. Squeeze lemon juice into a glass of warm water and drink first thing in the morning. This wakes up your digestive system, cleanses the stomach and intestines and regulates your stomach acid level.
Carole Duménil, Lic.Ac.
Clinic in the Costa del Sol and Gibraltar /
Clinica en la Costa del Sol y Gibraltar
This post is also available in: Spanish