I work with people who have been diagnosed with a wide range of problems, from irritable bowel syndrome to chronic constipation, to more serious health concerns like Chron’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.Digestive problems like those often require a multi-faceted approach.My treatment plans often combine acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal formulas and occasionally a food-based supplement.
The importance of diet
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “he who takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skills of the physician.”In fact, food therapy is one of the five branches of traditional Chinese medicine, which also includes acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal medicine and qi gong.I often include dietary guidance for my clients with digestive problems.Sometimes this may mean cutting back or eliminating certain foods.But very restrictive diets or elimination diets can be problematic for many people.Often they are so difficult to maintain that a person will stop following the diet, even if it improves health and reduces discomfort. Therefore, I work with clients to strengthen their digestion so that over time, their food sensitivities are less pronounced.
My favorite self care resources
Dr. Robynn Chutkan and is a great resource for anyone who is having problems with their digestion. Dr. Chutkan is a gastroenterologist with a holistic approach and has written two great books about gut health and the digestive tract. To learn more about probiotics and the role of gut bacteria on our health, be sure to check out her book “The Microbiome Solution“.
If you experience heartburn or excessive gas, the problem is sometimes insufficient stomach acid. Some people swear by apple cider vinegar. I personally can’t handle the taste of cider vinegar mixed with water. Many of my patients have found the supplement Zypan to be very helpful. Zypan is made by Standard Process. It combines pancreatin, pepsin, and betaine hydrochloride to facilitate healthy digestion. Though I generally prefer people to take a whole foods approach, sometimes a pill is easier. I’ve had many patients see improvement with Zypan.
For chronic constipation and food sensitivities, I like Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolosate. It is a form of gelatin that you can mix into liquids, but it won’t make the liquid gel. I like to put it in my tea in the morning. The supplement is supposed to help with collagen production, so it is used for joint pain. It also contains the amino acid proline and glycine, which help heal the damaged cell walls that cause leaky gut syndrome. This product has been a big help to some of my patients with ulcerative colitis, and others with chronic constipation.