In Chinese medicinewoman making heart shape with her hands on her belly the root of wellness is directly correlated with a healthy digestive system. Our digestive systems is connected with our immune system, therefore being able to absorb all vital nutrients and eliminate excess waste products are necessary for the health of the body’s organs, tissues, muscles, nerves, blood and vessels. If you are unable to absorb your food, your body is unable to nourish or heal itself, which leads to disease. We get all of our nourishment from food; that’s why our digestion is number one in importance.

How do you know if you have a digestive issue? When a new patient comes into my office, I always ask them about their digestion. Unless a digestive issue is their main complaint, I usually get the answer “my digestion is good.” As I dig deeper, often it is made clear that there is disruption with their digestion. Directly related to digestive health, when I ask my patients about passing gas, I often get the responses, “no more than normal” and “it’s common.” Passing gas may be “common,” but it’s not normal. It is important to understand the difference between the two. Your digestive health is described by a consistent, daily large bowel movement (or multiple ones), feeling good after eating a meal and experiencing energy from food, with the absence of some of these common digestive symptoms: bloating, heartburn, abdominal pain, poor diet, weight gain/loss, cravings, food sensitivity, acne, poor sleep, anxiety, memory loss, poor concentration, physical pain, asthma, allergies, menstrual issues, sexual dysfunction and chronic fatigue.

In my practice, acupuncture, herbal medicine and food healing are used to address digestive issues. By utilizing these three healing modalities, my patients experience quicker and more effective results.

Acupuncture has been effectively helping and healing digestive issues for thousands of years. It helps digestive energy by directing it in the proper direction—from the mouth downward through the entire system to the anus. If there is an issue in this direction, movement symptoms will be present. Such symptoms can include acid reflux, indigestion, constipation, nausea and vomiting.

If the digestive system is unable to absorb nutrients properly, problems may manifest as watery or loose bowel movements, anemia, fatigue, physical pain and insomnia. If elimination of waste problems exist, constipation, bloating, gas, poor appetite and weight gain may occur. Other complications related to the functions of absorption and elimination of the digestive system include arthritis, chronic inflammation, kidney stones, gallstones, and autoimmune disorders. Acupuncture helps the body with proper absorption of nutrients and can redirect the flow of energy downward for expeditious elimination of waste.

food_healingIt is imperative to look at the diet in regard to your digestive health. Food is always discussed with my clients. Quantity and quality of food are commonly reasons for digestive disharmony. Even how you feel about your food is important. A lot of my patients tell me they eat healthy. Most of the time when I hear this, my patients are indeed eating healthy, but they may not be eating foods for healing. There is a difference. For example, a patient comes to me for enlarged prostate treatment. I find that he isn’t eating foods with lycopene in them; therefore he isn’t consuming the best foods for his own healing. Lycopene is a phytochemical that gives foods their red carotenoid pigment. Foods high in lycopene include tomatoes, watermelon and red/pink grapefruit. It’s important to know where the phytochemical lycopene is stored, as often times this part is discarded: the peel of the tomato; the white (pith) of watermelon; the white (pith) of grapefruit. Food is naturally healing, and by using foods properly, our body can heal more effectively.

herbal_medicine

Herbal medicine is extremely beneficial in helping the digestive system heal. Acid reflux is a common digestive complaint yet can have an immediate positive response with a single healing herb. Many people are aware of aloe vera for external healing benefits yet are surprised to learn of its internal healing abilities. Not only does it heal cuts, burns and scrapes, it also has the ability to heal acid reflux along with the entire digestive system.

Acupuncture, food healing and herbal medicine are valuable tools in addressing digestive issues, working quickly and more effectively when properly combined. Regardless of other health issues, it is critical to take care of your digestive health. Remember, when poor digestion is present, disease can occur. As always, consult your health care provider when making any health changes.