Acupuncture for Bloating and Nausea

Relieving digestive discomfort

woman lying on bed holding her stomachOne of the most common digestive complaints is bloating after eating or bloating which progressively worsens throughout the day. It can sometimes be physically painful to touch, or can cause no discomfort at all.

What Causes Bloating?

Bloating in Chinese Medicine is called “Qi stagnation” or “spleen/stomach Qi stagnation”. What this means is that the food which is meant to be broken down and moved through the digestion is getting stuck and not moving. This isn’t always physical, it can also mean digestion which isn’t breaking the food down properly, causing fermentation and gas to build up in the intestines. The main symptom of this other than bloating is of course flatulence. Emotional stress and dietary issues are likely causes, but it can also be caused by hormonal changes like the stage in a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Foods that Cause Bloating

Diet can always play a big factor in the health of our digestion. In Chinese Medicine, over eating of cold raw foods can block up your digestion causing bloating. Similarly too much hot spicy or pungent food can stir up the stomach and intestines causing gas to build up causing stomach cramps and a bloated stomach and intestines.  If you are experiencing bad bloating, look at your diet and consider the following foods or eating habits:

  • Eating cold raw salads and food straight from the fridge
  • Processed prepackaged meals
  • Cabbage and onion
  • Garlic and Chili
  • Alcohol and soft drinks
  • Excessive amounts of white bread and pasta

If you are reaching a point when all foods you eat are causing bloating, then this requires investigation and treatment, as your digestion is becoming quite weak that even digesting good food is causing it to become blocked, you should consult with your GP to have the symptoms investigated.  This is an area where Acupuncture may be able to assist with the pain and discomfort, as well as help relive stress (which is often a factor).

What Causes Nausea?

Nausea is what the Chinese Medicine calls “Qi counter-flow”, meaning the energy is moving in the wrong direction. The Qi in your stomach is meant to go down, when it goes up we get feelings of nausea, reflux/indigestion or in extreme cases vomiting. Emotions like worry and anger can upset the stomach and cause its energy to counter-flow. Poor diets high in rich fatty foods can block up the stomach stopping the energy from going down so it rebels upwards.  If this goes on for a prolonged period, it can generate heat within the stomach. This can lead to reflux and indigestion, chronic cases can turn into stomach ulcers and ulceration of the oesophagus. Acid regurgitation after eating, and pain in the stomach after eating are warning signs that the stomach is generating too much heat.

Rarely do these symptoms occur in isolation, as we discuss your medical history, we will draw links between other issues you probably thought were unrelated such as poor sleep and fatigue.

How I Treat Bloating and Nausea with Acupuncture

Using my unique Acupuncture technique, we focus on finding the root cause of your symptoms within Chinese Medicine theory, and then select specific Acupuncture points which may help the digestion flow smoothly again.  This may work to reduce the bloating and nausea. Points are also selected to help settle the emotions which may help reduce recurrence of the symptoms.

Research done right here in the Northern Hospital in Melbourne in the Emergency Department for pain and nausea concluded: “Acupuncture in the ED appears safe and acceptable for patients with pain and/or nausea. Results suggest combined care may provide effective pain and nausea relief in ED patients. Further high-quality, sufficiently powered randomised studies evaluating the cost-effectiveness and efficacy of the add-on effect of acupuncture are recommended.”

If you would like to discuss this further, or require more information, feel free to call the clinic on 9796 2388.

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