About 1 in 10 people or more are affected by IBS according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. While there is no known cause for IBS, stress is a common factor which exacerbates symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating and cramping.
The pain can be extreme in some cases and is thought to be caused by uncoordinated intestinal contractions, meaning that as one part of the bowel pushes the following area is not yet prepared, causing obstruction, spasm and pain.
While the smooth functioning of the digestive system is dependent upoin the autonomic or involuntary nervous system, we know that stress activates sympathetic part of the this system, disrupting the harmony of the system. It is this component of IBS which lends itself to treatment via the practice of yoga and treatment with acupuncture.
Yoga As Effective As Drugs in Clinical Trials
Meditation and relaxation exercises have a deeply calming and relaxing effect which has been shown to carry over therapeutically to distress in the bowel. Studies conducted in India have shown that Yoga is as effective as the use of drugs for IBS while having none of the side effects but many considerable additional benefits. One study in Banaras Hindu University showed that a combination of drugs together with Yoga was considerably more effective than either drugs or yoga alone.
Particularly useful poses include forward bends, side twists and poses that massage the abdominal area such as Prone Boat or Locust Pose.
Acupuncture for IBS
IBS may also be treated effectively by acupuncture. As stress is a component, acupuncture treatment is highly effective in beating the symptoms of stress. While acupuncture has not yet conclusively been shown to cure IBS, it has a known scientifically proven effect upon the autonomic nervous system which is linked to the pain and discomfort of this condition. For a detailed description, follow this link to hear Neelam Misra, MD, Assistant Medical Director, Manhattan Total Health, discuss the effect of acupuncture on the autonomic nervous system.
IBS is a widespread and poorly understood condition, however, a combination of prescribed medication, together with a course of yoga practice and 4 to 6 treatments of acupuncture can be a highly effective way of dealing with this problem.
Dip Ac, Lic Ac (China), Dip Tuina, MAFPA