Acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) therapy for a more predictable and happier bowel
There is moderate level evidence supporting the use of acupuncture for the relief of symptoms associated with acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable bowel syndrome in characterised by unpredictable and often debilitating fluctuations in bowel habits.
Many describe irritable bowel syndrome as alternating bouts of diarrhoea and constipation which may be accompanied by moderate to severe bowel pain.
For some, irritable bowel syndrome is not associated with alternating constipation and diarrhoea. These people may describe their irritable bowel syndrome as being ‘constipation dominant’ or ‘diarrhoea dominant’.
For some, they may move their bowels irregularly (constipation) but when they do they find the stool loose and watery.
Irritable bowel syndrome is often made worse for stress and may also be aggravated by certain food types.
Those living with irritable bowel syndrome, who haven’t consulted with their doctor, are well advised to do so as what is understood to be irritable bowel syndrome may sometimes be something else like Coeliac’s disease (as the signs and symptoms are similar).
What is the history behind acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome therapy?
Chinese medicine trained acupuncturists study the mechanisms of digestion from both a biomedical and Chinese medicine point of view. In Chinese medicine, bowel function is a part of digestion.
When acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners, like Peter Kington Brisbane acupuncture practitioner, diagnose they do so from a Chinese medicine diagnostic framework.
This framework relies on practitioners asking questions of the patient about their bowel ‘habits’, perhaps palpating the stomach and abdomen and asking questions about other areas of the body like sleep, the effect of stress, whether there is nausea or vomiting or a tendency towards contracting cold, ‘flu or allergies.
The Chinese medicine diagnosis is arrived at after careful analysis of signs and symptoms and the observation of those signs and symptoms as a ‘pattern of disharmony’.
The acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) therapy involves the selection of acupuncture points whose use have been demonstrated in studies to improve outcomes for those living with IBS.
Acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) therapy may also involve recommendations for achievable changes in diet and lifestyle to support the therapy being offered.
Recommendations about diet and lifestyle are tailored to each client’s individual circumstance and needs.
The precise physiological mechanism behind the effectiveness of acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome therapy remains unclear.
What is the source of evidence to support acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) therapy?
Across 2016 and early 2017, Australian researchers conducted a review of the highest evidence possible to support the use of acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) therapy. This evidence included systematic reviews and meta analyses which are the highest form of available evidence.
What evidence is there to support acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) therapy?
There is moderate evidence to support acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) therapy producing a potential positive effect for sufferers of this condition [i].
A word about the importance of diet and lifestyle modification for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Where certain food triggers are associated with irritable bowel syndrome, dietary and lifestyle changes (for example, increasing exercise or managing stress) may be offered as a way of helping support your acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome therapy.
Any changes will be discussed in your initial or subsequent consultation.
What if my condition isn’t listed on this page?
All that means is that there hasn’t been enough research to officially say, “yep it helps”. Before deciding whether acupuncture irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) therapy is for you, feel free to give Peter a call to chat about your individual circumstances and his experience or knowledge of your problem
[i] MacDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (revised evition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd; 2017. [accessed 21 February, 2018 from https://www.acupuncture.org.au/resources/publications/the-acupuncture-evidence-project-a-comparative-literature-review-2017/]