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IBS and Crohn's disease

IBS and Crohn's disease treatment potential for acupuncture and herbal medicine in traditional chinese medicine

A Holistic Approach to Managing IBS and Crohn's Disease

(Organ names in Chinese medicine differ from Western medicine's understanding).

IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and Crohn's disease are chronic conditions that affect the digestive system. Western medicine understands these conditions as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which cause inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract. IBS, on the other hand, is considered a functional gastrointestinal disorder, which means there is no physical damage to the digestive tract. In Western medicine, both conditions are managed through medication and dietary changes.

Chinese medicine views IBS and Crohn's disease as disorders of the digestive system caused by imbalances in the body's energy. These imbalances can result from factors such as emotional stress, improper diet, and external pathogens. Chinese medicine aims to restore balance and harmony to the body to alleviate symptoms and promote healing.

One approach to managing IBS and Crohn's disease in Chinese medicine is through the five elements theory. This theory categorizes the body's organs into five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each element is associated with specific organs, and imbalances in these elements can manifest as digestive disorders. Treatment involves restoring balance to the affected elements through acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary changes.

Another approach is through channel therapy, which involves stimulating specific energy channels or meridians in the body to improve digestive function. This technique involves inserting thin needles into specific points along the meridians, which helps to restore the flow of energy.

Chinese herbal medicine is also commonly used to manage IBS and Crohn's disease. Herbal formulas are customized based on each patient's specific symptoms and imbalances. For example, herbs that are cooling and help to clear heat are commonly used to treat inflammation in the digestive tract.

It is important to note that Chinese medicine is not a substitute for Western medical care. Patients with IBS or Crohn's disease should continue to receive treatment and monitoring from their Western medical provider. However, incorporating Chinese medicine into their overall treatment plan can help to address underlying imbalances and promote overall health and wellness.


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  2. Xu, Q., Shao, W., Yu, L., & Wang, H. (2019). Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Crohn's Disease: A Review of Clinical Evidence. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2019, 1–10.

  3. Cheon JH, Kim YS, Ye BD, et al. Crohn's disease in Korea: past, present, and future. Intest Res. 2020;18(4):382-393. doi:10.5217/ir.2020.00018

  4. Melchior C, Gourcerol G, Cherau E, et al. Irritable bowel syndrome and hypersensitivity to foods. Ann Gastroenterol. 2016;29(2):223-234. doi:10.20524/aog.2016.0027

  5. Maciocia G. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2015.

  6. Cheng X. Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Foreign Languages Press; 2013.

  7. Bensoussan A, Myers SP. Towards a Safer Choice: The Practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Australia. University of Western Sydney; 1996.

The primary objective of Chinese Medicine is to treat the whole person rather than a specific disease or its given name.  It is an adjunct to Western medicine, with a distinct focus on identifying the underlying cause within Chinese medical  theory and using it's principles in a safe and modern clinical setting.

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