“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates
Disorders of gastro-intestinal character have major economic effects on health care systems and adversely affect the quality of life of many. It is estimated that more than 40% of people worldwide suffer with functional gastro intestinal disorders and that these are more prevalent among women than men.
The role of naturopathy in the support of digestive health
In the management of gastrointestinal disorders, diet has proven a powerful tool. Dietary patterns may have a role in the prevention of functional gastrointestinal disorders, with increasing recognition of the benefits of therapeutic diets in their management. For example, a FODMAP diet has been proven to be effective in the management of IBS, while a Mediterranean diet shown to contribute to lower prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders. Because every individual is different, a personalised diet is key to successful treatment.
Herbal teas have also been shown to have positive effects in the management of gastrointestinal disorders. As an example, chamomile has the ability to reduce inflammation and soothe the gastrointestinal tract.
Acupuncture has also been shown to be effective in a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders - it decreases levels of inflammation and regulates the autonomic nervous system by promoting the parasympathetic and inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system stimulates digestion and relaxes sphincter muscles in the digestive tract. Acupuncture can also help reduce nausea and vomiting, inhibiting gastric acid secretion and normalising gastric dysrhythmia. It has also proven effective in regulating the motility of the digestive tract, helping reduce constipation and diarrhoea.
Treatments and frequency
The number and frequency of treatments required will depend on the specifics of each individual. I will work with you to understand needs and formulate a specifc treatment plan during your first appointment. We will then continue to review and update this over subsequent sessions based on your responses and progress.
JGH - Diet as a therapeutic tool in chronic gastrointestinal disorders: Lessons from the FODMAP journey
MDPI - Mediterranean diet adherence is associated with lower prevalence of functional gastrointestinal disorders in children and adolescents
European Journal of Nutrition - Does a diet low in FODMAPs reduce symptoms associated with functional gastrointestinal disorders?
Spandidos Publications - Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future
Helms Medical Institute - Therapeutic roles of acupuncture in functional gastrointestinal disorders
Lupine Publishers - Evaluating the therapeutic role of acupuncture in gastrointestinal disorders
PubMed - The treatment of constipation-predominant iritable bowel syndrome with acupuncture and moxibustion
PubMed - Clinical effect of abdominal acupuncture for diarrhea irritable bowel syndrome
World Journal of Gastroenterology - Effectiveness of acupuncture to treat irritable bowel syndrome