Alternative Digestion Treatment for IBS, Reflux and More!

Looking for natural treatment for digestion? Digestive problems such as acid reflux, indigestion, upset stomach, belching, bloating, and occasional diarrhea are considered by most people to be ‘normal’ because so many people experience these symptoms – sometimes on a daily basis! But difficulty processing your food is far from normal and has long term consequences to your health.

When you aren’t properly digesting your food, vital nutrients are passing through the digestive tract, largely unabsorbed. Taking vitamins doesn’t help because if you aren’t utilizing your nutrients due to poor digestion, the vitamins are not going to be absorbed either. Western medicine offers several pharmaceutical options that control symptoms but when you take away the drug, the symptoms return. Drugs are not a cure, they are a mask.

Acupuncture to the rescue! I have studied a wonderful technique, Dr. Tan’s Balance Method which treats every type of digestive problem. By balancing the underlying energy disturbance at the root of the dysfunction, your body returns to normal functioning and stops generating uncomfortable symptoms. Dr. Tan’s Balance method has worked wonders for many who thought they were destined to either live with their digestive problems or to mask their symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs. Read this article to learn more. Although written for acupuncturists, if you scroll down to the ‘Case Studies’ you can read how this amazing acupuncture technique helps heal the imbalances that are causing your digestive problems.

Eliminating Waste in Practice: Dr. Tan’s Eight Magic Points for All Digestive Disorders

By Lisajeanne Potyk, LAc

Most of the patients I see in my clinic suffer from a variety of digestive disorders. They do not effectively process their food. They have diarrhea, heartburn, and acid reflux disease. They’re nauseated.

And who would expect any different? In this fast-paced, high-technology culture, we’re overrun with time constraints and stressors of all kinds.

People unaware of what a good diet consists of rely on processed fast foods and meats packed with hormones and antibiotics. In the West, we’re overprescribed antibiotics and other medications; women are reeling from the side-effects of birth control pills; and we regularly take any of a myriad of anti-inflammatories for the slightest ache. It’s no wonder so many people are experiencing internal disharmony. And if all of that wasn’t enough, most people either don’t know how to, or are afraid to, release their emotions. Opting for a sense of control, they “hold.” And they get constipated.

The digestive system is a mirror to how we process our external world on every level. Are we assimilating good nutritional, emotional and spiritual nourishment, and effectively eliminating what is toxic to us? Are we letting go of negative situations and allowing ourselves to be nurtured by positive ones? Without the foundation of a healthy, properly nourished body, we can’t find the strength to feed into our emotions. If there’s a backlog of undigested emotions, any digestive symptom can manifest. Once balance in the body is established by poor nutrition and digestive functions, we gain the platform to integrate our internal and external worlds.

Traditional Chinese medicine teaches us to properly diagnose and treat our patients using staid, ancient teachings recorded thousands of years ago. People don’t change from century to century, but their circumstances do. The environment, food, medications, and stressors affecting our patients are very different today, and since the disharmonies that cause them are rampant, digestive disorders are also rampant. Diagnosis and treatment according to the TCM model, written in (and for) a different time, can therefore be complicated and confusing.

Now, imagine a group of acupuncture points that could be used to balance every kind of digestive disorder, including irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, ulcerative colitis, indigestion, and more. Imagine that the points are simple, easy to follow, and quite effective. There is no need to take the pulse, no need to consult a textbook, and no need to fumble through myriad causes. Wouldn’t that be magic? It is, thanks to Dr. Teh Fu “Richard” Tan.

Dr. Tan has dedicated his life to experimenting with combinations of points, which are used with excellent clinical results, often instantaneously. Isn’t that what we, as practitioners, want – to insert our needles, see an immediate change, and know our treatment is working? With the eight magic points, Dr. Tan offers the ability to elicit consistent, positive results.

One could consult any number of the core books written on TCM theory, but isn’t the practice of acupuncture – of healing – about how much better the patient feels after being treated? Better to learn the laws of acupuncture, become skilled at them through knowledge and discipline, and then break out into your own successful expression of them.

Dr. Tan’s Eight Magic Points

Points on one side: LI 4, SJ 5, Liv 8 (Dr. Tan’s liver point), Sp 9
Points on other side: Lu 7, P 6, St 36, GB 34p (Dr. Tan’s gallbladder point)

Liver 8 (Dr. Tan’s liver point) and GB 34p (Dr. Tan’s gallbladder point) are found in locations not traditionally known. According to Dr. Tan, needling these points is more effective. Dr. Tan’s liver point is located anterior to Sp 9 on the medial condyle of the tibia, a rich region oddly ignored throughout history. The area can sometimes be very painful to the touch, but it can be more useful than Liver 3 in treating any stagnation in the Liver channel, especially when it is attached to the emotional disorders of resentment and anger.

GB 34p is located posterior to GB 34, just under the head of the fibula, where the tendon attaches. When penetrated, the point radiates electrically down to the foot, just as P 6 goes to the finger. It works better than GB 34, and is more sensitive. If both Liver 8 and GB 34p are tender, it can indicate an emotional component to the disorder. I regularly use this treatment for digestive ailments, with excellent results.

Case Studies

A 28-year old female came to me with anxiety and constant, burning pain in her epigastric area, something she’d experienced for much of her adult life. She was highly sensitive to many foods and didn’t eat much. Most of the medical specialists she consulted gave her the same patent answer: “There’s nothing wrong with you; it’s all in your head.” She was very nervous and skeptical about acupuncture, but she was also desperate.

After the third treatment with the eight magic points, her gastric burning and discomfort began to diminish. I continued seeing her twice a week. A month later, she was eating comfortably, and was fairly calm. She’s received so much relief from the eight magic points that even a job transfer hasn’t kept her from traveling to continue occasional treatments with me.

I have found the eight magic points useful for patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation, as it is a wonderful balancing treatment. A 40-year old female with breast cancer was just finishing her course of radiation when she came to me for acupuncture. She looked literally lifeless. Mostly bedridden, she had become frail, pale and weak. Given her delicate digestion and poor appetite, she wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed to recover her strength. I kept the treatment simple, using light needling with the eight magic points. When she returned to me for our second session, a light had already turned on in her eyes. Even her family noticed the dramatic difference in her qi. Continuing treatments, she began her recovery from the adverse effects of radiation.

A pregnant woman, 28, experiencing severe vomiting and persistent nausea, came to my clinic for help. I chose to use the eight magic points, but substituted LI 3 for LI 4, which is forbidden during pregnancy. Her symptoms abated immediately. She continued with me throughout her pregnancy, and ultimately had an unusually easy delivery. She is now the mother of a healthy, contented newborn.

The eight magic points performs wonders on people experiencing emotional upset, especially women with hormonal imbalances. A 42-year old female experiencing perimenopausal symptoms came to see me for her emotional distress. Hypersensitive to everything and everyone, she felt deeply depressed and completely controlled by her emotions. She was so anxious that she couldn’t eat; she couldn’t even lie still on my table for more than 20 minutes without getting antsy. I explored my toolbox of protocols and decided intuitively to try the eight magic points. At her next treatment session, she raved about how much better she felt. I continued using the eight magic points, which became the antidote for her intense emotional imbalance.

Learning From Dr. Tan

The first six months of my apprenticeship with Dr. Tan consisted of simply observing him in his bustling clinic. I was to ask no questions. He told me, “Once you learn it in your heart, your mind will understand.” The Chinese teach by familiarity, which leads to an instinctual knowing (the tiger). Once the ground of knowing is established, the “why” is understood (the wings). The student becomes familiar by watching; masterful and responsive through doing and observing results; and, once they’ve grown their wings, creative, by developing a style uniquely theirs.

I’m just getting my wings under Dr. Tan, but my clinical practice has long taken flight with the success of these treatments and the tremendous results my patients experience. The beauty of a protocol like this is that, as with magic, we don’t have to understand why it works, because we see for ourselves that it works. Consider the eight magic points. See for yourself that it is magic

Article taken from Acupuncture Today magazine.

Acupuncture for Allergy

Got allergies? Acupuncture is frequently used as a natural treatment for allergies and sinus congestion. If the arrival of allergy season has you reaching for a box of tissues and your usual antihistamine or decongestant – you’re in luck. Research demonstrates acupuncture works for allergies and sinus!

Most of my patients come in after suffering for years with allergy symptoms and blocked sinuses. Often it is with only a vague hope of getting relief having tried multiple allergy treatments. Fortunately, natural treatment alternatives are available for people who are seeking allergy and sinus relief. But are the results real or is acupuncture a placebo?

Acupuncture & Allergy Placebo?

Recent research on acupuncture was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. But the treatment results left researcher’s wondering if acupuncture was effective in the long run or if it was a placebo effect.

The Research

The study consisted of 422 people who tested positive for pollen allergies and also suffered with nasal symptoms such as runny nose and sinus congestion. All participants took antihistamines as needed.  Researchers divided them into 3 groups: the acupuncture treatment group, the ‘sham’ acupuncture treatment group, and the antihistamine only group. Each of the acupuncture groups received 12 treatments over a two month period.

After 2 months of treatment, patients receiving the real acupuncture reported markedly decreased allergy symptoms and a reduction in their need for antihistamines compared to the other groups. However, even the ‘sham’ acupuncture group reported some symptom relief which led researchers to conclude that a placebo effect might be partially responsible for their improvement. These results even lasted throughout the 4 months of follow up without any further acupuncture treatment, although the differences between all groups were less pronounced after treatment had ended.

This outcome led the authors to conclude: “Acupuncture led to statistically significant improvements in disease-specific quality of life and antihistamine use measures after 8 weeks of treatment compared with sham acupuncture and with RM [rescue medication] alone, but the improvements may not be clinically significant.”

The antihistamine only group did not report significant changes in their allergy symptoms and still required the most medication. Researchers felt that the similarities between the true acupuncture group and the sham acupuncture group were due to patient expectations that acupuncture was going to be effective to relieve their symptoms. In other words – it was the placebo effect that caused both  acupuncture groups to report improvement in their allergies and their decreased need for antihistamines.

Acupuncture Research – Design Flaws?

Some possible reasons for the researchers conclusion that the results were potentially a ‘placebo’ effect could be in treatment design. It seems the sham group DID receive acupuncture – albeit at random areas. However, the researchers did not describe where the ‘random’ points were located.

Often in research studies, sham acupuncture groups receive treatment close to actual acupuncture points. Many acupuncture points are fairly large. Additionally, some points share similar functions and treat the same symptoms.  One more possibility to consider is that any treatment that uses an acupuncture needle on same meridian as the ‘true’ acupuncture point, WILL treat symptoms associated with the meridian.

In the Dr. Tan style of acupuncture that I use to treat my patients at Inner Light Wellness in Downingtown – there are 6 different meridians that can treat nasal allergies and congestion! You only have 12 major acupuncture meridians so the chances of hitting one that might affect allergies is 50/50. This means that ‘random’ acupuncture point selection puts ‘sham’ acupuncture into the realm of potential effect on allergy symptoms.

Acupuncture – Individualized Natural Allergy Treatment

“One size does NOT fit all”

In the follow up, the acupuncture patients’ symptom relief reportedly declined somewhat decreasing the statistical significance of the overall results. This could be due to the lack of ‘differential’ treatment of the underlying factors in a patient’s allergy and sinus symptoms. Unlike western medicine, acupuncturists don’t use the exact same acupuncture prescription for a symptom. Instead we are trained to consider the whole patient and their unique make up.

We consider ALL of your body’s symptoms, not just your allergy symptoms. When we view your symptoms as a whole, each patient has their own unique pattern that underlies their symptom. When we treat you as the individual that you are  – addressing your allergy symptoms AND the rest of your pattern- you get results! Acupuncture is not a cookie cutter approach. Your treatments are individually designed to treat you! Not just your symptoms.

You Decide!

Treatment design flaws are often the culprit behind fuzzy results when research is performed for acupuncture and a specific condition – usually causing researchers to conclude ‘placebo effect’.  Armed with this knowledge, you can weigh in on the relevance of  acupuncture research when deciding to pursue alternative allergy treatment this allergy season. How about patient testimonials? Are the thousands of the people who report that acupuncture treatment is relieving their allergies experiencing a placebo effect?

When reading acupuncture research that concludes placebo effect – consider this: if placebo effect were the reason for improvement, why didn’t you get the placebo effect from the treatments that your insurance covered? Now that you pay out of pocket for your acupuncture, you ‘believe’ it will work? Why not read the evidence of real live patients. Or schedule a visit and see for yourself!

Sources:  PubMed

Ann Intern Med. 2013 Feb 19;158(4):225-34. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-4-201302190-00002. Acupuncture in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized trial.