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Reasons Why #3 – Get Regular! Beat IBS

Poop like a champ! Eliminating waste on a daily basis is not a ‘nice-to-have’.  It’s a top-down job!

 

What is IBS?

While it’s beyond the scope of this short blog, Irritable Bowel Syndrome in a nutshell manifests as diarrhea, or constipation, or both alternating, often with pain and unpredictability/dysregulation of elimination.

 

How Often is Normal?

We are designed to poop every single day.  In fact, passing formed stools 1-3 times a day is normal.  Less than that and your intestines are sluggish.  More than that and you’re in the diarrhea zone.  Loose indicates an imbalance.  

Sometimes, every other day is within normal limits, as long as it’s complete and you feel good.

 

Digestion Top to bottom

There are myriad reasons why elimination becomes compromised, and it’s not always insufficient fiber or water intake.  I use individualized observations and findings to determine what’s backing you up, and how to open the pipes. 

 

In Chinese medicine, the digestive system is seen as one tube from mouth to anus, and the overall directionality is downward. So we look at symptoms in terms of going down too fast, too slow, or coming up.  Reflux, nausea, vomiting are all considered counterflow, and can accompany constipation or even diarrhea.  We also regard the digestive system as the center around which all other bodily functions operate.  We need to have this tube open and regulated to relieve other problems in the body as well.  It’s often the first stop on the healing train – fix digestion, then see what is left to resolve after.

 

map of digestive system

One Patient’s Story

Ebony, 39,  had been very constipated her whole entire life. Her mom recalls giving her suppositories as a child.  Fast forward, and add on endometriosis, chronic pain, reflux, and nausea.  Constipation alternating with explosive diarrhea where she can’t stay away from a toilet was a daily interference with her life. Then she came to me to help to get some relief from all these issues. And the first thing that resolved was the perpetual IBS constipation alternating with diarrhea, along with less frequent and less intense reflux.  Within a few weeks, she reduced the reflux medication by half, and the explose bouts of IBS were gone. Instead, she’s been having daily formed, complete BMs.  The regulation of her digestion system has been such a big relief! 

Reasons Why We Choose Acupuncture – Reason 2

One Good reason:  Avoiding the drug / Surgery cascade

 

While the addage ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is still meaningful and relevant, eating a healthy diet is not the only thing you can do to prevent developing disease.   There is an ancient Chinese proverb ‘the best physician has no sick patients’.  This speaks to the fact that long ago physicians were adept at spotting imbalances before illness developed.  This is what I and my fellow Chinese medical practitioners strive for as well.  We look at the tongue, feel the pulse, feel the abdomen, ask questions, and then gain an understanding of the inner patterns that are becoming out of balance. We can notice the minor annoyances, irritations, things that maybe the patient doesn’t think is anything to consider.  And we know the systems that need attention in order to prevent problems from worsening, and symptoms from getting more severe.  Then it’s the patient’s job to follow through on the prescribed treatment plan.

 

Many young people today are barraged with problems resulting from stress.  Many people deal with it, thinking everyone feels that way.  I have patients who come because they don’t feel good.  The doctor says you’re fine, and offers perhaps an anti-anxiolytic or anti-depressant, or birth control to “regulate the hormones”.  However, in my clinic, I just see an overall healthy youthful person who just needs some gentle acupuncture and perhaps a course of gentle herbs to adjust the mechanism in the body causing dis-ease.

 

I’m very passionate about helping teens and young adults to avoid medications, or to discontinue medications.  Allow the body to heal itself!

I have had numerous cases of young women being faced with starting birth control for hormonal imbalances, and not for birth control.  E’s mom called me because of miserable menstrual cycles every month (headaches, nausea, pain, fatigue). They were about ready to follow the pediatrician’s advice to start oral contraceptive.  After one treatment, her cycle came at the expected time, but without all the awful symptoms. It was easy for the first time in many months.  Continuing consistent treatments for 2- 4 cycles usually results in greatly reducing premenstrual and menstrual symptoms while regulating.  Here’s my blog about the guidelines for a healthy cycle.

 

This also applies to the way menstrual imbalances if left untreated can result in surgical procedures such as hysterectomy because that is a common solution offered by conventional medicine.  By treating imbalances throughout our life cycle, we can often head off crises and prevent drastic measures.   Before suffering for extended periods of time with excessive bleeding, seek care that takes you the whole person into account.  Starting with less invasive measures when problems arise can truly make a difference.

What does a normal menstrual cycle look like?

Here are the guidelines that I look for my patients to fall within for a healthy menstrual cycle and the fluctuations that indicate the need for attention.

 

Week before the period – Premenstrual Time

A normal cycle does not require there to be symptoms or changes before menstruation begins.  A very mild brief breast tenderness or brief mild mood change is not very alarming, although still indicates a tendency to what we call Qi stagnation.  Lots of cramps, fatigue, bloating, back ache, headache, moodiness, constipation, and sore breasts are all symptoms of imbalance that can be treated with acupuncture and/or herbs.

 

The menstrual period

The flow should last between 3-7 days total, and going 2 hours or longer before needing to change a pad or tampon is an ok amount. Although heavier flow should not last more than about 3 days. Changing every hour and a half or less is considered too heavy, assuming a thicker absorbant is used.

Mild cramping sensation for a day or less can be typical, as long as it does not interfere with anything you’re trying to do.  If you are reaching for an over the counter pain reliever, this can be addressed naturally with acupuncture and/or herbs. Cramps again indicates stagnation, which means energy or blood flow is impaired.  Exactly what we specialize in with Chinese Medicine!

There should be no headaches, no nausea and no vomiting.

Bowel movements should not be constipated or loose or frequent (more than 3 formed).

Clots that are small and not painful to pass are ok and normal.  Clots bigger than a nickel or so, especially quarter sized or larger, are not normal. Pain with passing clots is also not normal and indicates an imbalance.

First color to last color longer than 7 days indicates imbalance.  Some spotting at the beginning or end of the flow can be ok as long as total color is 7 days or less.

Dark color, brown color or pale or pink color all are bits of information we use to diagnose the imbalances as well.

 

After the Flow

If you are really tired or weak after the period, or get headaches after, this indicates deficiency that is also important to address.

Day One to Day One should be from 24 to 33 days or so, with 28 being the average.  Shorter than that or longer than that can indicate imbalance that can be adjusted.  If you fluctuate month to month from the shorter end to the longer end of normal or more, this too is too much irregularity.

 

These are general guidelines.  Traditional East Asian medicine is well suited to identifying and treating smaller imbalances before they snowball into worse problems.

Don’t just suck it up

Let’s admit it, since it’s been a man’s world, there’s been a lack of sensitivity to the monthly cycle of women, and a culture of just suck it up, everyone deals with it.  If it were a woman’s world, I think we’d have 1 day a month to just rest.  Despite all the wonderful things Chinese medicine can do, the day before or day one of our period can be a time of low energy and needing to hunker down and rest.  I don’t see anything wrong with that.  We don’t have to go go go 24/7/365.  However, if it’s a struggle for you every month, and you can’t do what you want to do without a struggle, then please know you’re not alone, and there are solutions.  And birth control is not the only option.

 

You deserve to be seen, to be heard, and to be cared forCall today to see if we’d be a fit to work together!

Here’s to taking back our Menstrual Health!

Reasons Why Series – Reason 1

Treat side effects from drugs without adding another drug.One Good Reason:  Treating Medication Side Effects

Drugs are amazing.  They help a lot of people prevent and manage illnesses.  But let’s face it, most drugs have side effects.  Not for every person, but for the majority of patients one or more side effects shows up, sometimes to the point of outweighing the benefits.   In response, your doctor may suggest or prescribe a secondary medication to address that side effect.  And so the cascade of pharmaceuticals goes.  
As an acupuncturist, I see a lot of people who are trying to avoid or reduce dependence on medications.  
 

Here’s the story of a woman we’ll call A. 

She takes a medication daily to prevent cancer recurrence.  A. is so grateful for this important drug, however she happens to be one of the 27% who gets a non-serious heart problem as a side effect.  For her, it’s thumping and skipping beats – really uncomfortable.  The doctor reassures her the palpitations, called PACs, are benign, and prescribes a beta blocker to address the misfiring of the heart’s rhythm.  Concerned about the beta blocker’s own list of various side effects, she takes a friend’s advice and tries acupuncture.  And guess what – after one week of treatment – the disturbing heart-attack-like feeling decreased dramatically to mild and less often. 
In less than 3 weeks, the skipping and thumping abated so much, and stayed so mild, that we were able to incorporate treatment of secondary complaints while continuing to address the heart’s signaling imbalance to ensure it continued to regulate and heal.  
Now we’re starting to space treatments further apart as symptoms continue to improve and not return between visits.  She went from having to take this beta blocker when it got bad (a few times a week), to not touching the stuff! 

Neuro Emotional Technique – finding hidden causes that interfere with healing

Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) is a non-invasive bio-energetic healing method that can uncover underlying stressors, including unresolved emotions, that are linked with and contributing to your sense of dis-ease.  Some of our pain is emotional, some is physical, and some is intertwined.  NET compliments acupuncture therapy and helps to speed healing, especially for very chronic problems. 

 

Stress and Emotional Blockages

Emotions are healthy and normal responses to stimuli, and normally pose no long-lasting physiological or psychological problems. While the conventional wisdom holds that emotions are separate from the physical body and its functions, modern research has now offered compelling evidence that emotions are physiological in nature and actually manifest throughout the body in the form of biochemicals called neuropeptides.

It is human nature to have emotional responses to significant events in our lives, and our bodies most often will deal normally with those responses at some point. However, sometimes the emotions become “stuck” and we develop conditioned response patterns that manifest as physical symptoms of some level of disease.

The skillful application of NET can normalize unresolved physical or behavioral patterns. The correction uses Muscle Response Testing along with specific NET inquiries to identify these blocks and to release them. While the events and their details are brought to consciousness, this is all very natural and safe. NET is not a “talk it out” therapy. Certainly, some patients can benefit from such therapies (and some should), and those therapies can be utilized along with NET, where applicable.

 

Mind-Body Healing

NET removes energy blockages, using the principles of Traditional East Asian Medicine and the associated organs and meridians. It is a true mind-body approach.

NET is effective in addressing emotional conflicts in the areas of relationships, family life, finances, career, and other personal issues that negatively influence health.

 

The Four Bases of Healing in NET

NET helps us find what the mind-body needs in order to assist deeper healing of the issue we’re exploring.

First Base finds and corrects a stressor, called a Neuro Emotional Complex,  

Second Base indicates a homeopathic remedy to assist in healing,

Third Base implicates nutritonal support

Fourth Base indicates a needed structural fix.  

NET is complimentary to acupuncture, and is based on the principles of Chinese Medicine in addition to incorporating chiropractic theory, nutrition, and homeopathy.  Acupuncture treatment assists in deepening the corrections done via NET, and can be used to correct a 4th base issue and sometimes is used in lieu of or in addition to the 2nd base finding. 

My patients love how they feel stronger and lighter after a session.  Pain improves, and overall wellbeing moves forward.  If you are curious if NET is right for you, call 630-335-1069 to schedule a complimentary consultation.  

 

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