Acupuncture and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Robert Moffett, Acupuncturist

When most people want to plan a fun day with family and friends – boating at Wrightsville Beach, for example, or spending a day at one of the many festivals held in downtown Wilmington, NC – they don’t have to make sure they’re always within twenty feet of a restroom. For people struggling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, however, this becomes a constant and unfortunate issue.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as IBS, is the most common gastrointestinal disease, making up almost half of all referrals to GI specialists. IBS is what’s known as a “functional illness” – that is, a condition whose symptoms are felt and documented, but exhibits no outward signs or damage within the intestines, and whose precise causes are unknown. One thing that is known for certain, however, is that there is a clear and direct link between flaring symptoms and emotional triggers, resulting in either diarrhea or constipation, both of which cause a host of obvious problems. IBS is so common, affecting between 9% and 23% of the population worldwide, that April is designated Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness month, in the hopes that more people will understand and find relief from this disease.

According to a study published by the American College of Gastroenterology, acupuncture was found to be the most successful alternative treatment for IBS.

Photograph by wladimir1804 ​via AdobeStock

In many cases, IBS can be managed with dietary changes and medications, such as laxatives and fiber supplements. For more severe cases of IBS, doctors may prescribe stronger drugs, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. These drugs, however, can only do so much, and then can also create unpleasant side effects. Because of these limitations, many people have turned to, and found relief with, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine when treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In fact, according to a study published by the American College of Gastroenterology, acupuncture was found to be the most successful alternative treatment for IBS.

“The data in support of acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies.”

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, IBS is believed to be caused by factors such as dampness and heat, caused by either weather conditions or nutritional deficiencies. Acupuncture can help relieve the symptoms of IBS by inserting needles at certain points along the meridians of the stomach and large intestines, moving stagnation and regulating the flow of Qi so the body can digest food and eliminate waste products in a natural and effective way. Acupuncture can also help relieve emotional stress, a common trigger of IBS episodes.

If you’ve been suffering from the symptoms of IBS, go with your gut and call to schedule an acupuncture appointment today with Acupuncture Associates in Wilmington, NC.


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Robert has over 40 years of experience treating and healing with traditional Chinese medicine. If you're experiencing pain and are in need of relief, schedule your appointment now. Robert will listen to your story, identify problem areas, and construct a treatment plan that will help you find relief.

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