Diet Therapy and Acupuncture Are TCM’s Answers to Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Over a million people in the United States suffer from Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease. These people experience pain that comes with urgency and diarrhea, stomach pain, cramping, bloody stools, and intestinal bleeding. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have been used for thousands of years to resolve the symptoms of these two diseases.

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

TCM considers the body as one organism made up of a network of interconnected channels and organs. Some of these channels are where the energy needed by the body to live flow. This energy is called qi and when it moves freely and is in adequate amounts, the person experiences wellness and good health. Other than that, imbalances, diseases and illnesses occur. The TCM modalities of diet therapy and acupuncture are used to rectify these imbalance and illnesses.

To ascertain the specific imbalance that causes the condition, the acupuncturist needs to observe the patient’s tongue, feel his/her pulse and ask about symptoms such as the frequency of bowel movements, blood, and pain. For colitis and Crohn’s, the most common causes are heat, dampness, stagnation, and qi deficiency.

Based on their manifested symptoms, each patient gets a customized acupuncture treatment for their condition. The objectives of the treatment differ especially if the patient is in a remission or an exacerbation. Usually the goals are to enhance appetite, lessen inflammation, and stop the bleeding, diarrhea and pain. Sometimes, moxibustion is done to warm the affected acupuncture points and enhance the effectiveness of the treatment. Usually a total of five to ten treatment sessions done one to two times a week are needed to resolve the condition.

Current Studies

Recent studies have shown that acupuncture can be an effective and safe complementary treatment to conventional care for Crohn’s disease. One specific study reveals that acupuncture treatment healed the disease, improved general well being, and raised the quality of life of the group treated with acupuncture; in addition, the people in this group also experienced a lowering of their intestinal enzymes after acupuncture treatment.

Dietary Recommendations

Diet therapy, in TCM, is vital for the proper care of colitis and Crohn’s. The theme of diet therapy is variety and balance that entails the consumption of cooked vegetables, moderate amounts of protein and easily digested carbohydrates. Sufferers of Crohn’s and colitis should know that the eating of hot spices, nuts, raw vegetables and other hard to digest foods may lead to the irritation of the digestive wall. So, instead of eating them raw, vegetables should be steamed, or stir fried and served as stew or soup. Furthermore, eating meats that are difficult to cook like steak needs to be avoided during exacerbation or lessened during remission. Instead, you may eat thinly cut stir fried meats or stews.

IBD patients are urged to eat white rice as it is very easy to digest and can help improve digestion. Brown rice can also be eaten although it first needs to be thoroughly cooked with water. Oatmeal that has been cooked in a lot of water is a recommended breakfast food for IBD sufferers. Heat can be exacerbated by the eating of too much hot spicy food which can lead to the irritation of the intestinal wall. Therefore, for IBD patients, avoiding these types of food is highly advised. To help you know what foods are specifically recommended for your condition, you need to talk with a licensed and qualified acupuncturist in Overland Park.

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