A good digestive system is critical for the overall health of the human body. Obviously, any malfunctioning in the digestive system can lead to a great range of diseases requiring lengthy treatment. Poor digestion and absorption could cause diarrhea, constipation, anemia, weight gain, edema, sensitive skin, irregular menstruation, poor appetite, and even fatigue, sleeping problems, depression or anxiety. Other than other health problems, poor digestion and absorption could affect the absorption of calcium, thus contributing to osteoporosis.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that the production of qi and blood, which serve as the basis for the building of the healthy body, originated from the spleen and stomach. Digestion and absorption of food take place in the stomach and the small intestines, but the transformation of food into essence and the transportation of the essence throughout the body depend on the spleen.
To address any digestive disorders, it’s best to use non-invasive treatment together with the right food and/or health supplements as medications or improper food could be a burden to the stomach, further aggravating the problem.
Acupuncture is a non-invasive, safe, effective, natural and drug-free way which has the effect of dual-directional adjustment. For example, depending on different technique used, diarrhea and constipation can both be treated simply by inserting needles in tianshu acu-points (2 inches from the left and right of the navel) can treat diarrhea or constipation. Moxibustion or cupping is sometimes applied as required by the personal’s general health status.
General life-style suggestions to help with maintaining a healthy digestive system:
- Have a regular routine for your meals: a good breakfast, lunch and a light dinner. Don’t skip breakfast.
- Avoid cold, greasy, sugary, spicy or junk food.
- Get sufficient sleep.
- Reduce stress.
- Engage in age-appropriate exercises to increase your stamina. Here are some specific hands-on tips:
- Do belly rubbing massage (circular motion) yourself before or after a meal for 3 to 5 minutes. Clockwise rubbing has a reduction effect while counter-clockwise has a reinforcement effect.
- Acupressure (Pressing with the finger) or moxibustion for 2 minutes every day or every second day.
- Prepare a simple health drink by cooking 6-8 slices of fresh ginger together with 5-6 dry red dates.Taking this on a regular basis can nourish and enhance the function of both the spleen and the stomach.
For patients with chronic digestive problems, occasional fasting can be a good option to give your digestive system a break.