In Chinese Medicine the role of a healthy digestive system is essential to our quality of life. In fact, there is an entire school of thought in Chinese medicine, named The Earth School, which was dedicated to the role of digestive health on the overall health of a person. The historical Chinese medical texts give references to stomach pain (wèi wăn tòng), acid regurgitation (fàn suān), nausea/vomiting (ŏu tù), hiccough (èni), abdominal pain (fù tòng), abdominal distension (fù zhàng/pĭ măn), diarrhoea (xiè xiè) and constipation (biàn mì).

Today you may hear about the importance of digestion on health in many areas including problems of malabsorption of nutrients and most recently the gut-brain connection which involves our microbiome. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, cravings, acid reflux, bloating, epigastric pain, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation and bleeding from the bowel may be indicative of other conditions and should be assessed by your health practitioner.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a common condition diagnosed by eliminating other possible diagnoses (such as but not limited to coeliac disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) involves a combination of abdominal pain and diarrhoea or constipation, with some patient’s bowel movements alternating between diarrhoea and constipation. A randomised controlled trial shows that people with IBS may experience reduced symptoms for up to a year when undertaking a course of ten weekly sessions of acupuncture with usual care than when using usual care alone.


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