Common digestive conditions that Chinese medicine can help treat
Chinese medicine may assist with the management of the following digestive symptoms:
- gastric reflux and indigestion
- stomach pain
- anorexia (loss of appetite) or gnawing hunger
- mouth ulcers
Using Chinese Medicine philosophy to understand the digestive process
According to Chinese Medicine, the digestive tract is merely an internal tube that extends from the mouth to the anus. There are a myriad of health problems that can arise when it is not working efficiently.
The digestive tract has a tendency to become ‘blocked’ by the intake of rich, oily, difficult to digest foods. The dense nature of these foods can cause stagnation in the stomach and the digestion to become sluggish. Associated symptoms include bloating, stomach pain and cramping, constipation, sluggish energy, fatigue, body heaviness, weight gain and bad breath.
When the stomach becomes blocked, energy can also rebel upwards causing nausea, vomiting, belching and heartburn.
In others circumstances the digestion can become weak and unable to hold back the stomach contents to allow for adequate processing of essential nutrients.
If food passes through the stomach too quickly it can manifest in frequent, loose stools, diarrhoea and fluctuating blood sugar and energy levels. Associated symptoms include fatigue, mood swings, irritability, sugar cravings and malnourishment.
When making a diagnosis the Chinese Medicine practitioner seeks to establish what foods exactly are going into the body and what waste products are being discharged from it.
By applying Chinese Medical principles and understanding it is possible to work out what is happening to the food when it’s in the body and what the underlying disease process might be.
An assessment of the relative strength and efficiency of the digestive system can then be made and a treatment plan devised. Some treatment approaches might focus on moving blockages and stagnation in the digestive tract, descending stomach energy if it is rebelling upwards or strengthen the digestion to hold back the stomach contents if they are slipping through too quickly.
The function of the digestive system
The primary function of the digestive system is to separate and ascend nutritious, high quality, ‘pure’ energy derived from food and fluids and descend and excrete the ‘impure’ or waste byproducts of digestion via the bowels.
This ‘pure’ energy is considered to be very precious and a fundamental requirement for sustaining all life processes. It needs to be retained and utilized by the body for health.
The ‘impure’ energy or turbid energy as it is also known or translated needs to be completely purged from the body. In Western clinics it is very common to see health conditions arising from circumstances where the digestion has become compromised and the ‘pure’ and the ‘impure’ energy become mixed together but this is a much larger more complex topic.