A loss of patency can be due to various forms of stress. The digestive tract, unlike other organs, except the lungs, is open to the external world. This means that ‘stressors’ can originate either externally or internally. An example of an internal stressor is an enduring mental or emotional stress. The effect is to slowly erode the healthy status of the digestive functions. This deterioration will often occur slowly and almost imperceptibly, over time. Often people come to regard these unhealthy changes as being just expected facets of ‘the ageing process’, which is very unfortunate.
When I am dealing with a long-term digestive disturbance, there are usually related problems manifesting in other body systems. In such cases I frequently use chinese herbals, alongside acupuncture to assist in the effort to regain wellbeing.
External stressors could be the likes of excessive refined carbohydrate or fat intake, unripe or over-ripe food, food that is excessively hot or cold, viral infections, antibiotic and hormone therapy and so on. The result, over time, is an imbalance, brought on by some excessive influence.
This will often lead to a change in bowel habits and might play out as loose bowel motions or possibly constrained bowels, constipation. These can be ‘alarm bell’ symptoms, which draw one’s attention to a system that requires support and assistance to become regulated and directed back towards balance or homeostasis. Research on intestinal motility has shown, for example, a potentially significant effect produced by two particular acupuncture points – ‘taichong’ and ‘hegu’ – in combination. Such a combination can help regulate the transportation of food and fluids. I would also utilize these points to relax a client who is suffering some level of chronic tension. So internal and external stressors can be targeted at the same time.
However, it would be a poor clinician who left it at this. Many clients require specific dietary and eating habits counselling. This is guidance around food choices, food intolerances, seasonal eating, food combinations and preparation. And keep in mind the old adage – ‘one man’s poison is another man’s cure’. This reminds us that we are each quite unique, so appropriate dietary choices will differ from person to person.
To find out more about how acupuncture, counselling & chinese herbals may help with stress-induced digestive disorders, please contact Michael Finn on 0411 537 394 or send him a message via the Contact link on the Homepage.
Effect of siguan acupuncture on gastrointestinal motility: a randomized, sham-controlled, crossover trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:918392.