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Treat IBS Naturally with TCM



          Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, is a prevalent health disorder that affects a small number of people. This disorder affects the stomach and the intestines in the gastrointestinal tract (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2022). IBS is also a chronic condition, meaning one will need to learn how to manage their condition long term.

What are the symptoms of IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (Ibs)? 

          The most common symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, changes in how often one has a bowel movement, and changes in the appearance of stools (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2022). These symptoms are usually present for a period of time and vary from person to person as well. 



          The exact cause of IBS is still unknown; however, a few factors play a role in the development of this disorder. These include issues with the nervous system, severe infections, muscle contractions in the intestines, changes in gut microbes, and early life stress (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2022). Some triggers of IBS also include food and increased periods of stress. 

What are the causes of IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS) in Oriental Medicine? 


          In TCM/Oriental Medicine, IBS is classified as abdominal pain. The causes of IBS are abnormal emotions, diet, and external pathogens (Yao, 2020). Additionally, Liver stagnation and Spleen deficiency, cold and heat, and Spleen and Kidney Yang deficiency are key factors of irritable bowel syndrome. From Aria Integrative Medicine (2022), the Liver maintains the free flow of Qi. Since the Liver is related to emotions, when there is stress or emotional upset, the Liver Qi does not move freely. The Spleen Qi starts to be suppressed by the stagnant Liver Qi, and when the Liver overacts the Spleen, the symptoms of IBS appear. 

What can Oriental medicine do to treat IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (ibs)? 

          Acupuncture has been used throughout history to treat other illnesses and disorders of the body. Acupuncture is found to relieve abdominal pain and distention, reduce tension and stress in the digestive organs, regulate bowel movements, and release hormones (Ryu, 2022). Acupuncture can also help stimulate the nervous system, releasing hormones and chemicals that ease stress and pain (Premier Spine and Sports Medicine, 2022). 

          Acupressure aids in reducing IBS symptoms by using the same collection of points along the meridians to help eliminate blockages and encourage Qi and blood to move freely through the body (Tan, 2021). Ear acupuncture/acupressure also helps ease IBS symptoms, such as bloating, abdominal pain, and the sensation of incomplete bowel movements (Rowden, 2022). 

          Using traditional Chinese herbal medicine is a vital part of TCM/OM. To treat IBS, traditional Chinese herbs have been shown to decrease abdominal pain, improve stool quality and emotional health in patients, and regulate digestive system functions (Ryu, 2022). In addition, traditional Chinese herbs are also responsible for helping IBS symptoms by reducing intestinal inflammation, restoring intestinal flora, and modulating the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal tract (Rice, 2018). 

          Moxibustion helps patients with IBS as it is a modality of TCM/OM that uses heat from burning dried mugwort. It helps regulate Qi and resolve stagnation while dispelling coldness and warming the body (GinSen Clinic, 2022). Moxibustion also helps those with IBS by having anti-inflammatory effects and protecting the Liver function (Davis, 2022). It also plays a role in pain management and preventing and treating other diseases. 

          Cupping helps to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which increases blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract. It also aids in peristalsis, which helps clear colon blockages, encourages blood and body fluid to move through organs, and relieves indigestion (Resolution Health, 2019). Abdominal cupping therapy can also help lessen digestion attacks and clear constipation (The Center for Holistic Healing, n.d.). 

          While using TCM/OM, some lifestyle recommendations include adequate sleep and daily exercise. Getting enough sleep is important since being sleep-deprived can cause illness. Also, getting daily exercise is important to strengthen Qi circulation. (Acupuncture & Massage College, 2010). Another lifestyle recommendation from TCM/OM is to keep parts of your body warm, such as your feet. Keeping your feet covered and warm is important to maintain body balance and support proper Qi flow through the meridians (Barrett, 2020). 

          At Rapha Acupuncture in Newport Beach, we are a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)/Oriental medicine (OM) clinic specializing in men's and women’s health. We can help you design the best treatment plan for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)! Using acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs customized to your symptoms, Rapha Acupuncture provides a natural and holistic solution. Give us a call today!

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Acupuncture and Massage College. (2010, January 6). Traditional Chinese medicine and lifestyle recommendations. 

Aria Integrative Medicine. (2022, May 10). IBS and traditional Chinese medicine. 

Barrett, L. (2020, January 9). Top 10 traditional Chinese medicine health tips: The flow by Pique. Pique Blog. 

Davis, K. (2022, February 22). What to know about moxibustion. Medical News Today. 

GinSen Clinic. (2022, December 13). Traditional Chinese medicine for irritable bowel syndrome. 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, November 2). Irritable bowel syndrome. Mayo Clinic. 


Premier Spine and Sports Medicine. (2022, December 5). Acupuncture for IBS: What you need to know. 

Resolution Health. (2019, April 24). 7 surprising benefits of cupping massage. 

Rice, R. (2018, April 8). Traditional Chinese medicine and IBS. The Stram Center Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine, Albany NY. 

Rowden, A. (2022, January 28). Acupuncture for IBS: Efficacy and alternative treatment options. Medical News Today. 

Ryu, J. (2022, December 22). Using Traditional Chinese medicine for irritable bowel syndrome.

Tan, Q., & Cai, X. (2021, September 3). How to manage IBS diet with acupuncture and TCM. Art of Wellness Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). 

The Center for Holistic Healing. (n.d.). Therapeutic cupping.


Yao, C. J., Li, Y. L., Pu, M. J., Luo, L. H., & Feng, P. M. (2020). Traditional Chinese medicine for irritable bowel syndrome: A protocol for meta-analysis. Medicine, 99(48), e23394.

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