A Pain in the Gut
Many people call our clinic asking for assistance for IBS.
Chinese Medicine has a very different view on why we may have digestive problems. The Chinese Medicine view on gut health begins and ends with strengthening the digestive system rather than strict or fad diets. We believe that if your digestion is not working well, then you are more likely to crave sugars and carbohydrates and become hungry more often. These cravings don't mean that you have no will power or are greedy, instead we see these cravings as a symptom of an under active digestive system.
When we eat, food is broken down in order to be digested, when someone has a weak digestive system the food they eat is not broken down very well and bloating and flatulence occurs.
A randomised controlled trial found Acupuncture to be superior to usual care for IBS symptoms at 6, 9 and 12 months but not at 24 months. (1). Talk to us to find out if Chinese Medicine may be able to assist.
1. MacPherson H, Tilbrook H, Agbedjro D, Buckley H, Hewitt C, Frost C. Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome: 2-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial. Acupunct Med. 2016 Mar 15.
Sugar & Chinese Medicine
The weakened digestive system creates another problem, because your body is not turning all the food and calories you eat into nutrients you then become hungrier more often. This happens because your body needs energy and food is energy. The craving for sugar occurs because your body knows that eating sugar is an easy way to obtain energy quickly. When you are not extracting all the nutrients from your food, you feel that you need to eat more to be satisfied, this becomes a viscous cycle putting an extra burden on your digestion, as you are ingesting more calories than actually needed. If you are digesting your food well you should have minimal sugar cravings, if you are not digesting your food well the sugar cravings are an important diagnostic symptom which signals a digestive problem.
Remember that sugars are one of the easiest ways of acquiring energy and sugar cravings are just a physiological sign that the body is lacking something.
If your digestion is working adequately you should be able to have a bit of chocolate, wheat, gluten or fatty foods and not have any adverse reactions to these products. We believe it is your reaction to food that is the issue not the food itself.
Let's face it, eating is a very social activity and having to limit your choices every time you go out for a meal is boring and frustrating and most importantly is not fixing the issue.
Fatigue & Chinese Medicine
Many patients complain of symptoms such as tiredness. When your digestive system is weak, it takes a long time to break down food. This extra energy that is used to break down food depletes your energy reserves, making you feel sleepy and lethargic after meals, bloated or simply tired all the time. Many patients ask what foods should be avoided. In contrast to fad diets we actually don't advise you to eliminate foods such as gluten or sugars; we actually focus on the opposite side of the spectrum, asking you to include, in moderation, most food groups in your diet. We find this to be a more realistic and more pleasurable.
Eating more cooked and steamed vegetables over raw salads. If you like to eat raw salads, make sure that the vegetables are not cold, this means allowing the vegetables for your salad to come up to room temperature. And finally, if you love sushi there is a reason the Japanese serve it with wasabi and ginger. The ginger and wasabi are warming and help break down food, thus aiding digestion.