One only needs to scan the shelves of your local drug store and see all the products dedicated to digestive issues to realize how prevalent digestive problems are in this society; problems like heartburn, acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea to name a few.
Sadly, our typical diet contributes to many of these issues. The high amount of processed foods we eat does not contain the fiber we need to enable our intestines to effectively eliminate waste. Over-cooked and over-processed food is lacking in digestive enzymes. When we don’t get any digestive enzymes from food our body has to provide them all itself which causes weakness in an already overburdened system. Enzymes lacking in number and efficiency lead to bloating and gas and inflamed intestines. Serious diseases like Crone’s, diverticulitis, and ulcerative colitis can result. Additionally, the high amount of stress that most Americans experience these days contributes to the severity and prevalence of digestive complaints.
Chinese Medicine sees these issues in terms of an imbalance of energies. Constipation is often an indication that liver energy is not moving properly. Diarrhea will sometimes mean that the spleen or kidney energy systems are weak; and alternating constipation and diarrhea indicates a disharmony between the liver and spleen. Acid reflux means the stomach energy is going up instead of down.
Acupuncture will restore balance in the body by strengthening systems that are weak and regulating areas that are not moving correctly. Chinese herbal formulas are a safe alternative to medications that could cause dangerous or uncomfortable side effects. Herbal medicine also does a much better job of treating what is causing the problem to begin with rather than just alleviating symptoms.
Foods and nutritional supplements that are beneficial for healthy digestion are:
- Ground flax seed and psyllium husk are high in fiber and beneficial for constipation.
- Plant based digestive enzymes takes eases digestion and relieves bloating and gas.
- Aloe vera juice reduces intestinal inflammation
- Probiotics are healthy bacteria the intestines need to function properly. Bacteria get depleted easily with stress, toxins, and highly processed foods.
Most digestive disorders respond very well to consistent acupuncture and herbal treatment. The digestive system is intimately connected with the health of most of the other systems in the body. If there is an imbalance in this area, chances are likely that there are problems in other areas as well. Maintaining healthy digestion is one of the most important things we can do for our overall health.