Western medical researchers have not been able to find any cause for Irritable Bowel Syndrome commonly referred to as IBS. The main symptoms associated with IBS are abdominal pain, bloating and alternation of constipation and diarrhea. There is no effective western medical treatment for IBS and the only treatment doctors can offer is for temporally relieving symptoms.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis there are a number of causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome but the most common one is a disharmony between the Liver and Spleen. In simplified terms, the liver is easily affected by stress such as irritability, anger and depression. The spleen is easily weakened by irregular eating habits such as overeating and excessive amounts of starchy, greasy and sweet foods. When stress and incorrect diet combine, it is viewed that the liver attacks the spleen and then the patient experiences symptoms associated with IBS.
The beneficial effect of Chinese herbal medicine on IBS has already been demonstrated by landmark research done by Dr Alan Bensoussan in 1998 at the University of Western Sydney.
But now research has been done to confirm that acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome can alter specific areas of the brain as confirmed by an MRI scan.
The research used electro-acupuncture which has been used for many years in the treatment of many types of pain conditions. Results of the research showed that the electro-acupuncture caused higher activation at the right insula portion of the brain as well as pulvinar and medial nucleus of the thalamus. These changes in the brain affect serotonin and mood. Acupuncture has been used for centuries in the treatment of mood disorders and depression.
Being able to reduce reactions to stress in IBS patients whether by meditation or acupuncture can be of great benefit in eliminating the symptoms of constipation and diarrhea.