Gastrointestinal Conditions

Acu for Seasonal Allergies

By Mary Vincent L.Ac.
The most common type of allergies people seek treatment for at BCA are seasonal allergies, otherwise known as “hay fever”, which includes lots of sneezing, stuffy noses, and itchy eyes. This is especially true in the fall and spring, when tree, grass, and ragweed pollen are at their highest and surge with the warm, windy weather. If your allergies are predictable and occur at a certain time of the year, we suggest starting treatments just before the onset and continuing 1-2 times a week through the season. Many people find this helps keep their symptoms mild and easier to control. If you have a random mild to moderate allergy flare up, we suggest coming in for a few treatments in a row, which can help temper down your symptoms (including digestive issues related to a food allergy).
An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system has developed a hypersensitivity to something in the environment that would not typically affect the majority of individuals. Allergens can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through contact with the skin. When a person comes in contact with something they are allergic to, the body produces a specific antibody known as IgE which binds the allergen and attaches them to mast cells. Mast cells are found throughout the body, but particularly in the intestines and airways. When IgE attaches the allergen to the mast cells, they begin to release histamine, the chemical responsible for the unpleasant physical symptoms of an allergic reaction.

The most common allergens include pollen, dust mites, mold, animal dander, foods, drugs, latex, and insect venom. Adverse reactions include:
* Sneezing
* Itchy, runny or stuffy nose
* Itchy, watery eyes
* Fatigue

Acupuncture and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

by Mary Vincent, L.Ac.

Many people have been turning to acupuncture for chronic digestive issues, with especially good outcomes for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a common, chronic condition that affects the large intestine, causing uncomfortable symptoms which include:

Constipation and/or diarrhea (can alternate between both)
Bloating and gas
Abdominal pain and cramping

 

A diagnosis of IBS is given based on the presence of the above symptoms, but without bloody stools, weight loss, or inflammation so severe that it causes discernible changes in the tissue of the large intestine. If you present with the above symptoms, your doctor may run tests to rule out other diseases (e.g., stool sampling tests, blood tests, and x-rays). If something more serious is suspected, you may also undergo a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Contrary to more serious gastrointestinal disorders, there is no increased risk of colon cancer with IBS. While the symptoms that do exist can be ongoing, they are rarely severe, though they can cause enough physical discomfort or embarrassment to interrupt one’s regular daily activities. Currently, there is no known cause of IBS, though there has been some speculation that it may be caused by incorrect signals to the bowel from the brain. It is recognized that it is common to have an IBS flare up after stressful life events or a gastrointestinal illness, and it is more common among those who suffer from anxiety or depression.

IBS typically affects people younger than 45, and is about twice as common in women as in men.

How does acupuncture help?

A great number of acupuncture points exist on areas of the body that correspond with many large nerve branches of the peripheral nervous system (the part of the nervous system that [...]

Acupuncture and Gastrointestinal Problems

By Mary Vincent, L.Ac

Some of our patients at BCA have significant digestive upset that can snowball into several days or weeks of bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, gas, stomach cramps, or some combination of these unpleasant symptoms. If your one of the people who has these types of issues, acupuncture can help bring you relief.

Acute Digestive Problems
Digestive discomfort caused by overindulgence, stress, and/or travel can typically be alleviated quickly with acupuncture, particularly if the symptoms have just recently appeared. In this case, often a single treatment or two will be enough to get things back on track. If the onset if your symptoms were several weeks ago, and things “just haven’t been right since”, then 2-4 weeks of regular acupuncture should help alleviate the discomfort. In both cases, we may consider giving you herbs to take for a short period of time, if we believe they will help resolve your particular digestive symptoms faster. Also at this time of the year, we also see a fair amount of digestive problems related to acute viral and bacterial infections. As we are a community clinic, we ask that you not come see us until the infectious period has passed, but if you do end up with some lingering nausea or irregular bowel movements in the days that follow your illness, do come in for a treatment or two and the symptoms should subside.

Chronic Digestive and Bowel Disorders
Those that experience digestive problems on a regular basis from disorders such as GERD, IBS, IBD, and Crohn’s Disease can also find relief from symptoms with acupuncture. Frequency of treatments needed depends on how long you have had the problem and severity of symptoms. Dietary recommendations are herbs often [...]