Acupuncture and You: It’s all about the Gut; Digestion Issues and how Acupuncture can Help By Heather Shoup, L.Ac.

Heather ShoupMany of us don’t really know what proper digestion feels like. We live in a culture where high stress and poor food choices have led to the majority of people experiencing problems with their digestive tract. Over the last 15 years or so we have seen an increase in diagnosis such as IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome.  Many seek out help for these issues, while others think that their symptoms are just part of normal digestion.

So what does normal digestion look and feel like.   When we eat a well balanced meal food in a slow and relaxed manner, food should take 6-8 hours to pass through the stomach and small intestines before reaching the large intestine. During this time we may feel some slight grumbling, as food, fluid and gas moves through the intestines. Proper healthy digestion should result in healthy well formed bowel movements of 2-3 a day. Proper digestion and elimination should be effortless and easy.

So, how many people actually fit this description? If you ask me NOT the majority of us. We live in a convenience culture. Our food is convenient, not necessarily healthy.  We eat on the run or quickly because we are trying to fit in meals where we can.  We as a culture try to do multiple things at once often eating, drinking, and entertaining ourselves at the same time.  This all leads to inevitable digestive problems.  Heart burn, indigestion, gas, bloating, distention, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, are all common digestion problems.   As I stated earlier, IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is at an all time high diagnosis.   IBS is a group of various digestive symptoms that have no underlying cause.  It often involves gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, or alternating symptoms.  We have seen a trend in once prescription acid reflux medications becoming over the counter, simply because of the increase in people requiring medication.

So what can be done? There are many things we can do to help ourselves.  We can start making time to eat, by sitting down and taking our time to eat.  Eating healthier well balanced meals.  We can avoid how much taxing food and beverages such as high fat, alcohol, or high sugar foods we keep in our diets. We can drink plenty of fluids to aid in digestion. Acupuncture is also something that can be added to a persons regimen to aid digestion.

When we spend so much time with poor habits, sometimes we need a little help getting our digestion in order. This is where acupuncture can help. It encourages healthy digestion, encouraging muscles to relax, increase blood flow to the system, and decrease inflammation. Usually 2-6 treatment s can help get the digestive system back on track.  A healthy diet and healthy eating routines can help maintain healthy digestion.