Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are chronic gastric inflammatory diseases with unknown cause. In colitis the inflammation focuses more on the lower GI and rectal areas. The manifesting symptoms are pain and chronic diarrhea which contains pus and blood. Because there is no known cause for ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s, western medical treatment focuses on relief of symptoms. Within the paradigm of Traditional Chinese Medicine we can view inflammatory bowel disease in a different light. The causes can be constitutional deficiencies, an infection or invasion by an outside pathogen, or dietary. An accurate diagnosis relies upon the various symptoms related to digestion as well as the whole body system. The compilation of concerns will show a pattern of disharmony. Treatment is then applied accordingly, usually with great success.
An article written by John K. Chen for Medical Acupuncture, “A Journal Written For Physicians, By Physicians,” in Volume 13 Number 3 illustrates the difference between the western and eastern approach to Colitis and inflammatory bowel disease. He concludes that Oriental medicine offers an effective treatment for mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. This article examined the effects of both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, finding them both safe and beneficial for resolving pain, diarrhea and dysentery symptoms.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
First the manifesting symptoms need to be controlled. Often times we use acupuncture and herbal medicine concurrently with a patient receiving western care. If the patient is in a flared stage, a series of 5 acupuncture treatments given once a week along with herbal medicine to control bleeding and diarrhea is the initial step. After the first series of treatments, the condition will be re-accessed and a more accurate long-term treatment plan can be established. Diet modifications to eliminate triggers and the worsening of symptoms are also a crucial part of colitis treatment. Your acupuncturist will do a thorough diet history and discuss with you any changes to your eating habits that may help the condition.