Could Acupuncture Improve My IBS Symptoms?

Life is complicated when you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Pain, cramps and emergency trips to the bathroom make it difficult to sit through an entire meeting, take a walk around the neighborhood or even enjoy a night out. When medications alone aren't helpful in managing your symptoms, acupuncture treatments can help.

Isn't Acupuncture Just for Aches and Pains?

Although acupuncture is often used to treat pain, the ancient practice also relieves or reduces the symptoms of many conditions and diseases, such as high blood pressure, asthma, menstrual problems, rheumatoid arthritis, gastritis, stroke and chemotherapy side effects.

Centuries ago, the first acupuncturists realized that many conditions and diseases develop due to blockages of Qi, the vital life force that flows through your body via a series of meridians. Inserting hair-thin needles into the meridians relieves the blockages and alleviates symptoms. Today, acupuncture is recognized as an effective treatment for many conditions and offers another treatment option for people who prefer to treat their symptoms naturally.

How Can Acupuncture Help My IBS Symptoms?

Benefits of acupuncture treatment include:

  • Decreased Nerve Sensitivity. Nerves that control the bowel may become too sensitive in people who have IBS. Acupuncture treatment reduces sensitivity and helps prevent diarrhea, cramps and gas or reduce their frequency.
  • Pain Relief. Insertion of acupuncture needles triggers the release of endorphins, your body's natural painkillers. Treatment also increases production of serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates your moods and helps you feel relaxed.
  • Motility Regulation. Digested food moves through your gastrointestinal tract too quickly if you have diarrhea-predominant IBS or too slowly if you have constipation-predominant IBS. Acupuncture treatment may help regulate motility, the speed at which food makes it way through your intestines.
  • Reduction of Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. Many people who have IBS notice that their emotions play a role in flare-ups. When stress or anxiety increases, your gastrointestinal system reacts too intensely, triggering a desperate dash to the restroom. Georgetown University researchers discovered that acupuncture reduced stress hormone production in rats, a discovery that may have important implications for stress relief in humans. Their research was published in the April 2013 issue of Journal of Endocrinology. Acupuncture treatments also relieve depression, an all-too-common issue in IBS patients frustrated by their chronic symptoms.
Acupuncture treatments can be used alone or in combination with traditional treatments. During your acupuncture sessions, your acupuncturist may recommend lifestyle changes that can reduce stress, offer dietary suggestions and provide herbal medications that may help you manage your IBS symptoms.

Moxibustion Offers Even More Benefits for IBS

Moxibustion therapy performed in conjunction with acupuncture treatments may also help relieve your painful IBS symptoms. During your treatment, your acupuncturist lights a moxa-wool cone or stick that contains the herb mugwort. The stick or cone is placed near acupuncture points but never comes in contact with your skin. Heating these points warms cold meridians, improves the flow of both Qi and blood, and enhances your health.

Although it's not exactly clear how moxibustion works to relieve IBS symptoms, researchers at the Shanghai Research Institute of Acupuncture and Meridian report that moxibustion treatment can moderate and strengthen the function of the stomach, large intestine and spleen, and also regulate the body's pain response mechanism.

Are you tired of living with pain, diarrhea or constipation due to IBS? Acupuncture treatment provides a completely natural way to manage your symptoms with absolutely no negative side effects. Contact us to schedule your first acupuncture appointment.


Journal of Endocrinology: Acupuncture Blocks Cold Stress-Induced Increases in the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis in Rats, 4/13

WebMD: Alternative Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Health CMI: Acupuncture Soothes Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), 12/10/14

British Acupuncture Council: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Acupuncture Today: The Role of Warm Moxibustion in IBS Treatment, 2/14


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