We have been exposed to the idea that whatever goes up must come down, but when digestion is involved, it is vital that whatever goes down does not come back up. Who hasn’t experienced that violent arising of undigested food, that cannot be resisted once the eruption is in train, known as vomiting? When an energy moves counter to its proper course, what ensues is a dramatic movement. The same can be said of diarrhoea and yes, that is the correct spelling just in case you have always struggled with it. This is a downward energy exacerbation and is a very common affliction seen in clinic. Diarrhoea becomes a real problem to one’s general health if it endures over time.
Though less dramatic, reflux, whether silent or obvious, as seen in heartburn, is something coming back from where it was meant to go. Traditional Chinese Medicine denotes such a misdirected energy as ‘counterflow’.
There are various reasons for counterflow, which commonly include emotional disharmony, chronic stress, dietary indisgressions or inappropriate eating choices and habits and the results of poor self care on an ageing digestive system. The latter includes enduring energy deficiencies that result from habits engaged in over time around eating, diet and lifestyle. Usually reflux suffering clients present in clinic with a combination of at least two causative factors. It is important that potentially structural anord organic pathological causes to reflux be methodically excluded by diagnostic means as is available through one’s general practitioner and specialist as is appropriate. A classis example is that of a hiatus hernia.
Treatment of a functional reflux can be pursued along a two-pronged approach. Counselling around dietary correctness is vital. Counterflow infers there is a powerful disruption to a natural digestive process and is a signal of the need for regulation. Dietary advice can help a client personalise their diet as well as alter patterns of mealtime activity; i.e., less television, more good old conversation. Also, less rushing means possibly more attention to the ritual and pleasures of eating, such as taste and texture. Foods should not be eaten too far – and this is relative – out of season, as such eating puts unnecessary pressure on the digestive system.
The second and third prongs of treatment are acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies. This combination is utilised to restore the normal digestive flow of qi and therefore food and fluids. Attention is paid to the effects of emotional imbalance and mental preoccupation as these often play a huge role in the development of the problem. It will come as no surprise to read that stress is no friend to the gut.
To find out more about reflux, heartburn and the treatment of digestive dusfunctions with acupuncture, Chinese herbs and counselling, please contact Michael Finn on 0411 537 394 or send him a message via the Contact link on the Homepage.
Clinical study on the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux by acupuncture.