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Digestive Issues - Symptoms are Messengers

Roxanne Issurdatt, Acupuncturist L.Ac., M.Ac (USA), M.Phil. (Ireland)

Heartburn, acid reflux and GERD are all very common ailments today. While the possible causes are manifold - diet, weight and stress are held up as perennial culprits - one thing is clear: your body is sending you a message.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), symptoms are signals broadcasting an imbalance. TCM tells us that the body is governed and held together by Chi or energy. When that energy is out of balance, disruptions occur.

When people suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, the usual route is to take antacids or other medication to ease the discomfort. While these may relieve the symptoms, they do not address the root problem.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, acupuncture can help:

  • Bloating after eating

  • Acid reflux

  • Stomach ulcers

  • GERD

These painful symptoms are your body’s way of signalling that something at a deeper level is out of balance and needs attention. Acupuncture takes a holistic view to wellbeing and looks at the energetic workings of your body. Traditional Chinese Medicine identifies three systems that govern good digestion: Stomach/Spleen, Liver/Gallbladder and Kidney/Bladder. When these systems are in balance, we have healthy digestion.

Your acupuncturist will assess the current state of your system by taking your pulses for each of the 12 energy meridians and by examining your tongue. Treatment varies from person to person but with lifestyle changes and regular acupuncture treatments change can happen in less than 10 treatments.

For good health, the mind, body and spirit must be aligned and in balance. Just like any machine or system, we are the sum of our parts. When one part of the body is under stress or not functioning properly, it puts added pressure on the other parts of the whole system.

When the liver/gallbladder energy meridian is out of balance, a person can experience:

  • Anger

  • Frustration

  • Bitterness

  • Resentment

If these emotions are unexpressed, suppressed, ignored or not processed, the energy blocks. Your body is signalling to you that there is a deeper problem that needs to be addressed.

Getting back into balance

  • Deep Breathing: Use this technique to let go of unwanted emotions. Breathe in for four seconds and exhale for a count of eight. This calming exercise will help your Chi to flow and help relieve stress.

  • Visualisation: Take time to sit quietly and visualize a calm, beautiful space while breathing deeply.

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture can help move energy, re-balance your body and alleviate your symptoms while addressing the root cause of the problem.

Case study

A patient was experiencing extreme acid reflux even after making many dietary changes. She was suffering night and day with excruciating pain. This of course took a great physical toll but it also was mentally and emotionally depleting. After investigation, her pulses revealed an imbalance between the liver and stomach meridian. The liver energy was overreacting on the stomach energy and causing disruption to her digestion. Her system was out of balance. After practicing some deep breathing techniques, processing unexpressed emotions (anger & frustration) and undergoing a number of acupuncture treatments her condition improved greatly.

​Roxanne is a US-licensed acupuncturist with a Master’s degree in Oriental Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH). She is also a certified Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist with the American National Acupuncture Detoxification Association.

Roxanne believes Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work at the deepest levels to bring your body into balance. She knows first hand the toll of dealing with a chronic health condition, and this experience allows her to partner more effectively with her patients as they progress on their healing journey. Her treatments focus not only on relieving symptoms but also on improving the overall well-being of her patients.

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