Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is also known as spastic colon or mucus colitis. It is labeled a syndrome because is involves a group of symptoms that varies for each individual who is affected. Symptoms of IBS include abdominal cramping and pain, and constipation and/or diarrhea (often in alternating episodes). IBS may also be accompanied by other gastrointestinal problems, such as flatulence, bloating, and nausea. Symptoms are almost always aggravated by stress.
IBS symptoms seem to respond best to alternative and complementary medical treatment. Acupuncture, frequently in conjunction with the use of Chinese herbal and/or food medicine, is an alternative medicine that restores health by balancing and improving the flow of chi, the body’s natural energy flow, thus restoring proper function of muscles, nerves, vessels, glands, and organs
Certain acupuncture points along the meridians of the stomach and large intestine are located along the lateral side of the legs and arms. Acupuncture is used to remove dampness and heat from within the system by selecting these points.
An acupuncture treatment will strengthen the flow of chi or remove blockages in the meridians via the insertion of very thin, flexible acupuncture needles, from a depth of just beneath the skin to about an inch, at various acupoints along the meridians. As the acupuncture needles are inserted into the acupoints the patient may feel nothing, or a sensation of tingling, aching, warmth, or heaviness. Most people report no pain from the needles, just an odd or unusual physical sensation that is different but not unpleasant. Typically the needles remain in place for twenty to forty minutes. The number and frequency of treatments will vary with both the practitioner and the illness being addressed, but may range from a single session to several appointments a week, possibly over a period of several months.