Envision Personalized Health

Acupuncture For Better Digestion

A Warm, 
Happy Place

Acupuncture for Better Digestion

     When we watch television, we see ads for all sorts of digestive ailments: IBS, diverticulitis, heartburn, etc. As a licensed acupuncturist, I view them simply as the results of a weak digestive system. The main factors that weaken digestion are stress, choice of food/drink, and irregular eating times. Let’s get an overall understanding of how digestion function works according to Chinese Medical Theory.

     In Chinese Medical Theory, we group the main organ/organ systems into what we call the 3 Burners. Picture 3 vessels stacked upon each other in the human torso. The Lower Burner is the urogenital system (Kidney and Urinary Bladder). The Middle Burner is Digestion (Spleen and Stomach). The Upper Burner is Respiration. We can think of the Middle Burner as a big cauldron, bubbling away, breaking down the food and liquids we ingest. We call this the T & T function of the Spleen and Stomach: they are responsible for the transformation and transportation of the nutrients we take in.

     This image explains one of the main credos I counsel my patients with: The Digestion likes warmth. Whether it’s warming herbs (i.e. cardamom, cinnamon, ginger), warm/hot temperature both with ingestion of food/liquid and external application (i.e. heating pad), the human body’s digestive function can be strengthened by these different ways that fire up the bubbling cauldron. This does not mean one should not eat cold foods, but rather that one should eat them smartly. Sushi is very cold in its nature, but that is why it is served with ginger, wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and hot tea. I am a big fan of juicing, but I always include ginger root and sometimes turmeric root in my juices.

     The hallmark sign of strong digestion is regular (usually 1-2xx daily) elimination of a well-formed (think overripe banana, s-shaped) stool. Loose stools, watery stools are signs of poor digestion. Other signs of poor digestion are hiccupping, burping, heartburn, vomiting, stomach discomfort. The natural direction for the Stomach Energy is Downward (i.e. down the GI Tract and out the anus). All the aforementioned symptoms are of “Rebellious Stomach Qi,” it’s going in the wrong direction.

     I often advise patients that the biggest favor they can do for their digestion is starting out the day, breaking their fast with warm food. This means hot cereal or soup. Eating at the same times daily makes it easier on the body as human beings respond well to routine. This is why we have a body clock. The body gets used to releasing hormones and enzymes at a regular time.

      A quick summation of foods that impede/slow digestion: fatty/greasy foods, anything cold in temperature (the stomach has to heat it up to body temp to make use of it), dairy, meat. That is why one eats candy covered fennel seeds after a heavy Indian meal: there’s a lot of dairy to process and fennel is an herb that fires up digestion (that’s why it’s often in sausage, to help cut thru the grease).

     A quick summation of foods/stuffs that help strengthen digestion: soups (stews are wonderful as they’re basically half-digested already), hot cereal, ginger, cinnamon, peppermint, warming spices (think winter holiday spices).

I look forward to working with you on your health and digestive needs.
Jarrod Ildesa LAc.

Contact Envison Personalized Health 
or Book an appointment online
with Jarrod Ildesa LAc.