Acupuncture, Botanical Medicine and Clinical Nutrition: Create a ‘Healing Storm’ for Treatment of Diverticulitis

Acupuncture for Treatment of DiverticulitisThe standard American diet is the perfect breeding ground for diverticulitis. This is a condition where pouches (aka diverticula) form within the wall of the colon, then become inflamed and infected.

A low fiber diet (believed to be one of the major causes of diverticulitis) causes the colon to work harder to transport waste thus causing diverticula to form due to stressful elimination. As a result, feces gets trapped in the diverticula creating inflammation and bacterial infection which in turn forms diverticulitis. In fact, doctors believe that due to such a low fiber, processed food diet more Americans have diverticulitis than most realize.

Symptoms include:

  • Acute or chronic lower abdominal discomfort (often on the left side)
  • Bloating
  • Constant gas
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Sometimes fever and chills
  • Sometimes nausea

In addition, peripheral conditions and even diseases can manifest due to symptomatic and even asymptomatic diverticulitis. Some of these include:

  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • Dysbiosis
  • Gastritis
  • IBD (Inflamed Bowel Disease)

Acupuncture, botanical medicine and clinical nutrition have the ability to create the perfect ‘healing storm‘ for treatment of diverticulitis. When applied with the guidance of a professional naturopathic doctor, the body can embrace the natural remedy accumulation of these three approaches. Targeting the root cause by curing from within avoids conventional medical efforts which often attempt healing from the outside which, in more cases than not, only ‘band-aids‘ the symptoms rather than completely heals the cause.

Pointing in the Right Direction

Although many other acupuncture points are targeted to reduce pain and move along stagnant energy, Large Intestine (LI) points work well in addressing diverticulitis.

  • LI-11 is a directly related point used to treat symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting. It is located on the lateral (outside) spot near the flexed elbow and is called in Chinese Quchi or Pool at the Crook. It is classified as a He-Sea point where energy collects and goes deep into the body. LI11 is popular for treating rebellious qi (life force) as well as diarrhea.
  • LI-7 called Wenliu (Warm Flow) works well in reducing intestinal inflammation, abdominal pain and borborygmus (gaseous rumbling). It is located on the mid forearm on the thumb (radial) side. Inflammation is a huge factor in diverticulitis and acupuncture is capable of reducing this response to allow other healing remedies (such as botanical medicine and clinical nutrition) to flourish.

Overall, acupuncture used to treat diverticulitis, can:

  • Improve immune function which in turn lowers bacterial counts
  • Increase blood flow to the bowel strengthening mucosa and muscle walls
  • Expedite bowel healing
  • Increase stool transit to avoid irritation/inflammation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) both agree that acupuncture is a valid, effective and safe therapeutic tool for hundreds of conditions and diseases (including diverticulitis) in reports as far back as 1980 and 1997, respectively.

Medicinal Mother Nature

As more people realize the power of natural healing the more they realize that decimating such essential gifts as our rainforest is wholly foolish. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, 70% of over 3000 plant compounds found to be active in fighting cancer cells are found in the rainforest.

Botanical medicine is the base for hundreds of pharmaceuticals, however when prescribed and monitored by a naturopathic doctor in its natural state certain conditions, such as diverticulitis, could heal unencumbered by side effects or re-occurrence. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) reports a list of curative botanical remedies that, according to each individual case, have the potential to reduce and even heal diverticulitis. Some of these include:

  • Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) – Considered a demulcent, which is a soothing film that forms a protective coat over mucosa relieving pain and inflammation.
  • Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) – Excellent bowel anti-inflammatory (must be taken under strict guidance of a professional).
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) – Used for spasms and reducing inflammation (must be taken under strict guidance of a professional).
  • Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) – This is a demulcent and an emollient (smooths and relaxes intestinal wall).
  • Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) – Great bulk-forming high fiber laxative that softens stools and speeds transport.

Hand to Mouth

Controlling ones health can be considerably achieved through clinical nutrition. There is no doubt that preventative as well as medicinal eating can stave off many health threats especially when applied with the guidance of a naturopathic doctor. More whole foods and high fiber such as unrefined grains, fruits and vegetables as well as anti-inflammatory choices like tart cherry, wild salmon, papaya, blueberry, broccoli and sweet potatoes all contribute to a healthy colon. UMMC found that, “It [diverticulitis] occurs more commonly in countries such as the U.S. where the diet is generally low in fiber.” Also, younger generations are showing signs of rising diverticulitis cases especially those eating a diet of processed, low-fiber foods. In a paper titled ‘Epidemiological trends and geographic variation in hospital admissions for diverticulitis in the United States’ (pub. 2011 World Journal of Gastroenterol) it was concluded that, “Though diverticular disease is generally thought to be a disease of older adults, there are increasingly common reports of diverticulitis in individuals younger than 50 years. Diverticulitis-associated hospitalizations have steeply risen, especially in young adults.”

The ‘healing storm’ of acupuncture, botanical medicine and clinical nutrition can be an essential tool in preventing or combating diverticulitis. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or click here to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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