Can acupuncture help relieve
Anxiety, stress and/or irritable bowel Syndrome
Peta Favier writes: Yes, acupuncture is highly recommended for
and stress disorders. Patients receiving acupuncture commonly report deep
relaxation, inner calm, increased ability to cope and improved sleep as general
“side-effects” of treatment. If the IBS is primarily emotion / stress triggered,
it will improve easily. Duration of treatment will depend on whether yours is an
Excess condition (more quickly resolved) or a deficient condition (may take
longer). Chinese herbs will greatly improve results.
A common example of an Excess condition is Liver Qi
stagnation. In Chinese Medicine, stress affects the Liver organ system in a
way that interrupts the smooth flow of energy (Qi), blood and food
throughout the body. Typical symptoms include erratic bowel motions,
irregular menses, headaches and muscle tension. Emotions also become “stuck”
Anxiety specifically relates to the Heart (Fire) organ
system, which relies on Liver (Wood) energy for support in 5-element theory.
Deficient conditions include Qi, Blood and Yin deficiency of various organs,
such as Liver, Heart, Spleen, Kidneys and Colon.
Q: My wife
is suffering from severe morning sickness including nausea and occasional
vomiting. She has been using sea bands for motion sickness and a pulsating
watch. Both have been somewhat effective but the relief does not last very long.
Do you believe acupuncture can help?
McDonough writes: The causes of morning sickness are unknown, although some
research suggests that symptoms may arise from a release of progesterone by the
ovaries or high levels of hormones secreted by the placenta. It can cause a wide
range of symptoms from nausea and vomiting to heartburn and fatigue. Caution
must be taken if vomiting is more than several times a day as dehydration may
occur. It is also a good idea to check with your obstetrician to make sure your
symptoms are not indicative of other conditions such as pregnancy induced
From a Chinese medical perspective, morning sickness is a disruption of natural
energy flow in the digestive system caused by the growing fetus. If the mother
had digestive weakness prior to pregnancy, the nausea may be worse. Emotions
such as worry, fear and anger can also worsen symptoms due to their stagnating
effects on energy in that area.
Acupuncture can be very effective for treating morning sickness. The main
objectives of treatment would be to harmonize the digestive energy and stop
vomiting. If there are emotional components involved the practitioner will
address those as well. The stage of pregnancy and severity of symptoms will
determine what acupuncture points are used and the number of treatments. Usually
four to six treatments are enough to stabilize the condition.
Q: Is acupuncture a cure for lumbar stenosis or
will it just stop the pain?
Chu writes: Acupuncture can both cure and stop the pain from lumbar stenosis.
The question is how severe and how long you've had your condition.
Acupuncture is more than a temporary fix-it; basically the needles stimulate
the body's autonomic nervous system to maintain homeostasis. If your
condition is very severe and you've had X-rays, MRIs and other diagnostic
tests done, please share it with the acupuncturist. He will able to diagnose
more clearly, then make a decision as to the treatment plan. Your treatment
plan may include Acupuncture, herbal therapy, Tui Na (body manipulation),
exercises, a change in diet and some lifestyle advice.
The best thing to do is to contact a Licensed Acupuncturist and make an
appointment to see her in person. Your acupuncturist will meet you in
person, adequately diagnose your condition and set up a working treatment
plan for you to follow. Good luck and best wishes!
I was diagnosed with shingles and am having terrible pain in my leg. Will
A: Cindy Levitz writes: Shingles is related to
the virus that causes chicken pox. It often occurs in an energetically
run-down person and is commonly also related to stress. Usually your M.D.
will prescribe a medication in the acyclovir family during the initial
Acupuncture can help your body resolve the infection sooner and is very
helpful in reducing or eliminating the pain associated with it. I find that
the sooner you seek acupuncture treatment the quicker and better the result.
More chronic residual symptoms often take longer to resolve. I recommend
that you seek a Licensed Acupuncturist in your area, who will do a detailed
exam and evaluation for you. Then you will receive a treatment plan that
will most benefit your individual problem. In some cases, your acupuncturist
will want to work in tandem with your physician. You may want to discuss
About our Doctors:
Robert Chu, L.Ac., QME is in private practice in Pasadena, CA,
specializing in the Master Tong system of Acupuncture, treating musculoskeletal
disorders and pain disorders. He also treats side effects of chemo and radiation
therapy, psoriasis, thyroid disorders and other internal medicine diseases.
Robert is also an expert in Wing Chun Kung Fu, Qigong, Tai Chi and Tui Na.
Formerly affiliated with St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles as the first
full-time staff acupuncturist, he taught acupuncture at Samra University, and is
co-author of Complete Wing Chun and has published numerous articles for
Acupuncture.com, California Journal of Oriental Medicine, Inside Kung Fu, and
featured in Acupuncture Today and other publications. He can be reached at (626)
487-1815 or at email@example.com.
Cindy E. Levitz is a Nationally Certified Diplomate in
Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM) and is currently licensed to practice in New York and
Connecticut. She has been a healthcare practitioner for over 25 years. She has a
B.F.A. from Hunter College, a Masters in Science in Acupuncture and a
post-graduate degree in Chinese Herbology from Tri-State College of Acupuncture
in New York. In private practice for eight years, her office is located on Fifth
Ave. in New York City. She has successfully treated countless individuals with a
wide variety of health problems. Her specialties include acute and chronic pain,
women's health issues, health as we age and stress reduction.
Colleen M. McDonough, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., is a graduate of
Emperor's College in Santa Monica, California and holds a B.A. in Anthropology
from the University of San Diego. Colleen is also a certified birth Doula who
works with MDs and midwives. She uses acupuncture, herbs and hypnotherapy to
treat her pregnant and laboring patients. Colleen currently maintains a private
practice in El Segundo, California.
Peta Favier is an acupuncturist in Brisbane, Australia. She
works in a medical centre with General Practitioners and has been practicing
acupuncture for 5 years. Peta has been involved in health and healing for 13
years. Initially trained as a massage therapist, she went on to study
Acupuncture in Brisbane, Australia in 1994. Graduating with a Diploma of Applied
Science – Acupuncture in 1998, Peta has since completed further studies in
Chinese Herbs and now holds an Advanced Diploma of Health Science – Acupuncture
as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate for patent Chinese Herbs.