BLOATING AND STOMACH PAIN
A feeling of heaviness and bloating in the abdomen is a feeling that many people are used to living with routinely, and often do not know that it is a problem that can be resolved. When the body is in a balanced state and with proper diet, the digestive system is able to cope with digesting food without causing bloating, fatigue or pain. The bloating in Chinese medicine indicates a condition in which the digestive system is unable to convert food into available energy. The movement of energy (Qi) in the abdomen is not ideal which may cause bloating and other symptoms such as fatigue, gas, nausea, a feeling of total heaviness, foggy brain and difficulty concentrating and more.
The bloating can be caused a result of an improper diet, for example over consumption of dairy products, cold foods, white flour and sugar, in some cases there may be food sensitivity like wheat. Other contributors may be eating fast or while on the move, eating late at night, weakness of the digestive system, whether chronic or in response to a change that the body has not been able to overcome (for example after taking antibiotics, after exposure to significant cold, 'stomach virus' etc.).
For many women, bloating is a common sensation before and during menstrual bleeding. This may not necessarily be a problem but if the discomfort is affecting your everyday life, it might be worth consulting with a Chinese medicine practitioner to check if there is an imbalance.
Digestive problems according to Chinese medicine
Are mainly attributed to imbalance in the Spleen and Stomach. These organs are responsible for digestion, absorption and transport of nutrients extracted from food and production of Qi (= life energy) and Blood that nourish the body and support all life functions.
The Stomach is energetically responsible for receiving, digesting and transporting food in the digestive tract. If the Stomach is not functioning properly, the flow of Qi may be affected and you may experience symptoms of fullness, pain, nausea and even vomiting.
The Spleen is responsible for the metabolic mechanism. Its main function is to turn food into energy and transfer it to all parts of the body. The Spleen along with the Kidneys also has the role of fluid processing. Therefore, energetic weakness of the Spleen can cause oedema, fatigue and lack of energy. Craving sweet foods is a common sensation (the flavour of the Spleen). Consumption of quick releasing sugar foods aggravates the situation and further weakens. Waste matter accumulates and the Spleen struggles to function which may cause Damp to develop.
Common patterns according to Chinese medicine affecting causing bloating and pain in the abdomen:
Liver Qi stagnation- often brought on by stress and over consumption of less than ideal diet. Symptoms are often worse for emotional reasons. There can be a tendency towards constipation, especially when stressed.
Spleen Qi weakness- this can be a constitutional tendency, over worrying/thinking, improper diet. Stools are often soft, tendency to diarrhea. Long standing Spleen weakness often leads to the accumulation of Damp and Phlegm- People who suffer from this syndrome will usually complain of fatigue and bloating.
Stomach Qi weakness - general digestive problems as well as insufficient motility of the digestive system.
Yang weakness-predisposition to diarrhea, feeling cold and desire to eat hot foods.
Excess pattern- will manifest in fluid retention, weight gain and a feeling of fullness after eating.
After inquiring about your symptoms, we will diagnose the imbalance and create a therapeutic strategy to heal the injured organ system to ease symptoms and restore balance to your digestive system.
According to Chinese medicine the digestive system proper function is critical to maintain a person’s wellbeing. Alleviating symptoms and restoring health will improve your quality of life.
The main tools of CM in the treatment of the gastrointestinal tract are:
Nutrition - adapting a healthy diet and habits to your lifestyle.
Herbs - to support healing and assist normal function of the organ systems.
Acupuncture - specific points are chosen according to the diagnosis to relieve symptoms and resolve the root problem.