IBS is a widespread functional disorder with a wide range of symptoms
Your digestion is your center and core. Imbalances in this area can affect all aspects of your life. The most common problem is the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is a chronic and debilitating gastrointestinal disorder. IBS can be classified as functional disease, which means that the course of disease is marked by a wide range of symptoms across systems and a partial connection to emotions.
About 14 percent of the U.S. Population and up to 22 percent of people in the UK are afflicted by the digestive disorder. Women are 2-3 times more likely to develop IBS, and often suffer more symptoms during their periods.
Usually they suffer from abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, frequent diarrhea or constipation, bowel inflammation and stomach ulcers. People with IBS are often afflicted with symptoms that seem unrelated to digestion, like the chronic fatigue syndrome, headache, backache, genitourinary symptoms and emotional symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
What causes IBS?
○ Poor nutrition: too much sugar and carbohydrates, caffeine and alcohol
○ Negative Emotions: long term bottled-up emotions such as anger, frustration, resentment, grudges, stress, tension, depression, and general fluctuations in mental state
○ Stress & Anxiety: periods of prolonged worrying, melancholy, over thinking, excessive mental work or studying and stress
○ Unhealthy lifestyle: lack of sleep, lack of exercise, smoking, late meals
○ Allergy and food sensitivity: food sensitivity can be caused by a lack of lactase, or because the immune system mistakenly identifies the food as dangerous component and therefore works against it
○ Viral infections: infections that damage the digestive system and lead to many dis-eases including diabetes
○ Medications: antibiotics, synthetic drugs and hormones may all affect the function of the digestive system
How can I treat IBS?
The specific root cause of IBS is largely unknown, which is why no certain cure exists. Research has shown that conventional medications are only of limited benefits to improve the healing process of digestive disorders. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), an independent organization that uses the best available evidence to advise medical professionals, now recommends holistic therapies as a primary approach to IBS pain management. IBS responds very well to alternative treatments developed by traditional Chinese medicine. Practitioners often combine herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage or nutrition to help patients to restore their inner balance and relieve them from their complaints.
Many people suffer from IBS, they can even have the same symptoms, but they probably don’t share the same root cause problem. A traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis is very specific to each individual. Consequently, the treatments offered by Balance Health are individually customized to fit the patient’s need and to ensure success.
How does Traditional Chinese Medicine consider IBS?○ IBS is associated with an imbalance of Yin & Yang
○ Disorder arises from the five human organs: heart, lung, liver, spleen, and kidney
○ Each organ responds differently to emotions
○ The spleen is easily damageable by inappropriate diet, over thinking and worrying
○ The liver is the organ that is most affected by stress, anger or tension
○ Digestive disorder is mainly a subsequent damage of the liver’s balance
○ IBS stems from Liver-Qi stagnation
Acupuncture is a tried and tested system of traditional Chinese medicine, which has been applied in China for thousands of years to restore, promote and maintain good health. It is believed to stimulate the nervous system and to activate the body’s self-regulating systems. It helps to foster the natural healing process of the body and therefore, promote emotional and physical well-being.
Nowadays it is a common therapy and its benefits are widely acknowledged all over the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers acupuncture as a helpful treatment for resolving specific symptoms and conditions. Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) proves the effectiveness of Acupuncture in treating chronic pain. Small studies show that abdominal bloating and other IBS symptoms are well treated with Acupuncture.
Jeanine Blackman, MD, PhD, medical director of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine recommends to ideally combine Acupuncture with other treatments. Balance Health offers an integrative approach to your health and supports you with the right natural treatments available. Acupuncture in combination with herbal medicine or relaxation exercises promotes the healing process successfully. Balance Health acupuncturists can help you to improve your health sustainably, which will have a positive influence on the symptoms as well as on your mood.
A 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that of 116 patients surveyed, 78 percent reported that their IBS symptoms significantly improved and the degree of interference with life caused by those painful symptoms decreased after the herbal therapy. This study lends strong scientific support to treating IBS with Chinese herbs successfully.
In TCM up to 30 to 40 different herbs are usually combined to create an individualized complex formula. "In order to get a solution to a complex disorder like IBS you need a complex formula, and in order to get that, you need to see someone who can actually prepare it [… as they cannot be bought on store shelves]" says Jonathan Gilbert, who has a diploma in herbology and acupuncture from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Balance Health is your companion and our practitioners create your tailor-made herbal treatment plan that will free you from your illness.
Functional Medicine & Holistic Nutrition
Functional medicine is about getting to the root cause of a disease or dysfunction, by identifying the triggers, imbalances, pathogenic influences and toxicities. It combines the consultative expertise together with the appropriate diagnostic procedures, like laboratory tests, to help the patient regain balance, wellness and vitality. Diet, detoxification and supplementation are the key tools to correct any imbalance.
How does a consultation at Balance Health look like?
The treatment with our functional medicine practitioner and holistic nutritionist Miles Price is built up in three evaluation steps:
1. conducting a thorough health, family history, lifestyle and diet evaluation
2. evaluating blood tests and laboratory results
3. prescribing specific dietary modifications, with supplemental detoxification support if needed
The benefits of this holistic approach combined with clinical support result in less pain, more energy, vitality, and elimination of symptoms.
As Balance Health pursues a holistic approach the diagnosis is not only based on what the practitioner sees, but also on what he understands while listening carefully to your body. Your internal landscape, marked by emotions, experiences and traumata, is crucial to fully grasp the extent of your root cause. Ideally you are able to connect your body with your mind in order to listen to the stories your body has to tell. Somatic Movement is a treatment that creates exactly this kind of mind-body connection. With the help of Somatic Movement you regain balance, gain freedom of movement, and increase your vitality and creativity to better meet life’s challenges.
Stress is probably the most common reason in our society why the blood as well as the Qi becomes stagnant. The result is pain and disease. When we are stressed our body is filled up with tension. Our chest tightens, our muscles stiffen and our stomach ties into a knot. We overeat and hold our emotions in. Stress prevents Qi from flowing naturally, which has negative impact on our digestion. Balance Health offers several complementary methods to release accumulated tensions from the body and to ease your pain. The therapies include Shiatsu Massage, Energetic Kinesiology, Chi Nei Tsang, and Meditation, which are further explained in the following:
Shiatsu is a traditional Japanese hands-on massage, which supports the body’s self regulating processes and vitality. Our Shiatsu practitioner aims to identify and correct imbalances in the body by means of physical stimulation, stretch and joint mobilization techniques. Some recent pilot studies demonstrate the effectiveness of Shiatsu in treating IBS successfully. Almost 80 percent of the participants responded favorably to the therapy.
Energetic Kinesiology looks behind the scenes and tries to understand why your body shows certain IBS symptoms and predictors of stress. Therefore, our practitioner tests your muscles and listens to the story your body has to tell. Results are instantly revealed in four key areas: physical structure, body chemistry, emotions and energetic systems. By evaluating the muscle response imbalances can be identified and problems can be naturally eliminated.
Chi Nei Tsang
Chi Nei Tsang is a Toaist technique of abdominal massage that combines organ massage and breathing practices. This treatment addresses emotional and physical tension that might block digestion, and stimulates Qi to flow freely inside internal organs.
Meditation is a practice in which you experience the awareness of the present moment while focusing on your breath, thoughts or emotions. It includes a non-judgmental awareness of your own body and thoughts. Meditation is highly valued for its ability to reduce aches and stress. A study published in 2009 from the University of North Carolina proved that physical and psychological symptoms of IBS were more effectively managed by people practicing meditation. “Our study indicates that mindfulness meditation is a practical, widely applicable and inexpensive method to enable IBS patients to improve their clinical outcomes and gain associated improvement in well-being,” says Olafur S. Palsson, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and one of the researchers.
Contact Balance Health and book your first consultation. With the support of our practitioners we create the most suitable health treatment plan for you and hence pave the way into your balanced future.
“Happiness for me is largely a matter of digestion.”
– Lin Yutang
Research has demonstrated that acupuncture may benefit IBS symptoms by:
○ Providing pain relief (Pomeranz, 1987)
○ Regulating the motility of the digestive tract (Yin et al, 2010)
○ Raising the sensory threshold of the gut (Xu et al, 2009)
○ Improving the parasympathetic nervous system (Schneider et al, 2007b)
○ Reducing anxiety and depression in altering the brain’s mood (Samuels, 2008)
A balanced diet with the right nutrition is the key!
The British Dietetic Association recently compiled new guidelines to address digestive problems through dietary changes.
○ Remove mild and dairy products
○ Avoid dietary supplementation with wheat bran
○ Reduce intake of fermentable carbohydrates
○ Avoid nicotine
○ Consider at least a four week probiotic treatment
Our nutritionist and holistic health coach Miles Price can help you to development your own diet plan with the nutrition your body needs to regulate your digestion.
Natural supplements to treat IBS
Probiotics are microorganisms that naturally live in the gut. They belong to the category of “helpful” or “good” bacteria helping the gut to stay healthy. “These are organisms that are supposed to be in the gut. The body knows how to control them" says Stephen M. Farber, gastroenterologist from Albemarle Gastroenterology Associates in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
He was the one who conducted a recent study in 2003 and provides evidence that taking probiotics over four weeks significantly improved IBS symptoms and quality of life.
Do you want to experience the benefits of natural supplements? Ask advice from our Holistic Nutritionist and Functional Medicine Practitioner Miles Price!