Using acupuncture for digestive issues can provide a lot of relief quickly. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with IBD, IBS, SIBO, or simply have digestive symptoms, if you live in Ottawa, let’s get you feeling better.
Symptoms related to gut health that we can treat together include acid reflux, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation (or a combination of both), hemorrhoids, and more.
Can I get acupuncture for digestive issues that aren’t diagnosed?
A diagnosis is not necessary in order to get acupuncture for digestive issues. During your initial assessment, we will discuss the symptoms you’re experiencing, when they started, and how it’s impacting your quality of life. Based on that, a treatment plan will be made to best suit your needs.
Even if you do eventually get a diagnosis, your treatments will likely not change. Usually, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, symptoms are more important than a medical diagnosis. Additionally, getting acupuncture while you wait for testing will help alleviate pain and discomfort without impacting your ability to get testing done later on.
Would acupuncture help IBD (Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis)?
Acupuncture helps reduce inflammation related to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It’s a useful addition to your medical treatments for IBD. Generally, I recommend more frequent treatments during a flare. Once you’re in remission, we can focus on keeping you in remission, and reducing treatment frequency.
While working to get the Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis in remission, we can also focus on reducing symptoms. We can also work to alleviate side effects from your medication.
I’m currently taking medication for my digestive issues. Will acupuncture interfere with that?
It won’t! Acupuncture can help strengthen the benefits of your medication. It can also work to reduce inflammation in the body. Additionally, it can target those unpleasant side effects that can pop up.
Is IBS or SIBO something you treat?
In many cases, treating SIBO and/or IBS involves addressing two main factors. The first factor focuses on maintaining healthy gut motility. This means making sure that your bowel movements are happening at a healthy frequency. Acupuncture is particularly useful in this case. If you deal with constipation, we’ll focus on increasing the frequency of your bowel movements. For diarrhea, we’ll work to slow things down so that you can absorb nutrients in your food.
The second factor that needs to be addressed with these conditions is establishing a healthy balance in the gut microbiome. While acupuncture can help a little bit in this case, it won’t be enough on its own to take care of this aspect. I am happy to provide referrals to the right practitioners to help you out with this piece.
Because stress often plays a big role in SIBO and IBS, the treatment will also focus on stress management.
What other aspects of my health would benefit from working on my gut health?
While we tend to only think of treating poor digestion to reduce abdominal discomfort, many other conditions improve when we work on digestion.
In many cases, I see improvements in acne, moods, hormone balance, and weight management when treating digestion. Chronic conditions such as migraines, back pain, pelvic pain, and Post Concussion Syndrome also improve when digestion is targeted. And since the gut is the “second brain” of the body, as digestive health improves, mental health often does too.
How quickly will I see improvements in my digestion?
This always depends on the severity of the condition and how long ago it started. The longer the issue has existed and the more severe it is, the longer it takes to respond. We can often find ways to ease some symptoms faster than others. However, when it comes to reversing chronic inflammation, this can often take a little longer.
Because everybody is different, there is no definitive answer. Be prepared to come in for more sessions if you have a chronic issue. Sometimes, you may not feel the difference from one appointment to the next because the changes are very gradual.
Additionally, because acupuncture builds upon previous sessions in order to get healing momentum, improvements tend to progress slower at the beginning. For that reason, treatments are usually more frequent at the beginning, and then become spaced out more as your condition improves.
What does a treatment for digestion look like?
Like with any other health concern, needles can be inserted at various locations. With digestive issues, I tend to use abdominal points more often. However, needles may be inserted in the hands and arms, the legs and feet, on the back, or on the head. I may also make use of moxibustion, pictured below. This technique is particularly useful for IBD flares and for diarrhea or loose stools.
Because many scientific studies use electroacupuncture to determine the effects on a particular condition, I sometimes get requests for this technique. I do have all the equipment on hand to use electric stimulation. However, while some cases benefit from it, it’s not necessarily the best course of action for each case. Please feel free to ask me about it during your session. We can discuss whether it’s indicated for your situation.
In order to prepare for your treatment, make sure you’ve had enough to eat so that you’re not hungry during your treatment. I also recommend bringing a pair of shorts or pants that will comfortably sit above your knees.
If you’re ready to start working on your digestion, book your acupuncture appointment now!