Acupuncture, Botanical Medicine & Clinical Nutrition for Hypomotility aka Sluggish PeristalsisPeristalsis is the involuntary contraction of smooth muscle responsible for moving food through the esophagus, stomach and intestines. When this contraction becomes sluggish (hypomotility), digestion can be difficult to complete causing a number of adverse reactions. Some of these include constipation, bloating, acid reflux, and abdominal pain. Hypomotility is associated with several health diagnoses such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), intestinal pseudo obstruction (Ogilvie syndrome), chronic constipation and fecal incontinence. Many conventional medications attempt to stimulate peristalsis and/or manage bowel emptying. These drugs can be holinergic agonists, prokinetic agents, opioid antagonists, antidiarrheals, and antibiotics which may be under names such as neostigmine, bethanechol, metoclopramide, cisapride, and loperamide. They can produce temporary relief but often lose their effectiveness over time causing the patient to continually change prescriptions or even work with a prepared “cocktail” to attempt relief. Overall, this conventional approach may be more systemically damaging in the long run but is usually embraced out of sheer desperation.

Traditional medicine has been tackling digestive challenges for centuries. These are common afflictions that when treated by a professional naturopathic doctor often respond, over time, with great efficiency and in some cases complete recovery. Acupuncture, botanical medicine and clinical nutrition for hypomotility could be the “trifecta” approach. These give those challenged by this gastrointestinal disorder a chance to allow their body’s powerful healing capability to come to the forefront and surpass any conventional approach without potentially damaging side effects.

Stimulating the Digestive Pathway
Acupuncture works by targeting specific points throughout various pathways (meridians) along the body. These points correlate with the affliction and may be located almost anywhere. They are used to stimulate energy that has been compromised disallowing it to move throughout the body as intended. When this energy becomes sluggish or even stops moving altogether various conditions or diseases can eventually arise. In a look at combined studies using acupuncture as a remedy for hypomotility the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch reported in the April, 2010 US Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health that, “Based on the evidences from the studies in both animals and humans, EA [electroacupuncture] has the potential for treating gastrointestinal motility disorders…In conclusion, acupuncture or EA is able to alter gastrointestinal motility functions and improve gastrointestinal motility disorders.”

There is a dual approach acupuncture can have on this digestive condition. First, it is capable of reducing inflammation. When peristalsis becomes sluggish the gastrointestinal tract can respond by inflaming due to its attempt to push through waste without the much needed help of smooth muscle contraction. In addition, as the waste sits in the colon, auto-toxicity can arise affecting nutritional intestinal wall permeation. This combination is a debilitating cycle that acupuncture attempts to move along by stimulating such points as:

  • ST36 (stomach) – Just below the anterior (front) knee between the tibia and fibula bones.
  • CV6 (conception vessel) – About two finger widths below the umbilicus (belly button).
  • CV12 – About four finger widths above the umbilicus.

Nature’s Medicine
Botanical medicine sources have been the root foundation of most synthetic prescription drugs since modern conventional medical treatment began. Derived from plants the biochemical makeup has been extracted and manipulated to offer a more rapid response. Unfortunately, these manipulations along with synthetic additives may work as a temporary approach but can negatively affect surrounding viscera. Just listen to the legal cautions touted at the end of pharmaceutical television commercials ad nauseam.

In a joint study by the Department of Internal Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, the Department of Medicine, University of California and the San Francisco General Hospital entitled ‘Japanese Herbal Medicine in Functional Gastrointestinal (GI) Disorders’ Japanese herbs were used to remedy a variety of GI conditions. Some of the herbs used included: Atractylodes, Lancea Rhizome, Ginseng, Pinellia Tuber, Poria Sclerotium, Jujube, Citrus Unshiu Peel, Glycyrrhiza and Ginger. The study concluded that, “This updated summary of JHM [Japanese Herbal Medicine] in the field of gastrointestinal disorders illustrates the potential for herbal medication to serve a valuable role in the management of patients with functional disorders.”

Medicinal Eating
Clinical nutrition goes beyond visiting a western nutritionist for information on eating right. It entails a naturopathic doctor specifically studying each individual’s full spectrum habits and then recommending foods to encourage healing. In the case of peristalsis there are many, many foods that hinder its function with most being dead, manipulated, processed sugars, dairy, meats, trans-fats, salts, bleached flour and more. These are often delivered in deceivingly advertised packaging that trick consumers into thinking they are eating right.

By targeting hypomotility with proper eating practices along with acupuncture and botanical medicine there is a good chance that it can be alleviated or possibly eliminated altogether. Foods that may be recommended include fresh, live (not canned, boxed or brined) fruits and vegetables along with whole grains to flush out waste while stimulating peristalsis. Interestingly these incorporate gas producing foods such as broccoli and cabbage which are often avoided yet when ingested are also capable of digestive stimulation. Filtered water is essential for intestinal hydration creating softer stools for easy passage thus combating constipation one of the major symptoms of hypomotility. Finally, replenishing probiotics which are good bacteria, help in balancing CFU’s (colony forming units) throughout the GI tract and strengthening not only digestion but immune response as well.

Tapping into your innate, natural healing powers has the potential to rebalance your system for healthy peristalsis. Acupuncture, botanical medicine and clinical nutrition for hypomotility could set you back on track with the positive side effects of feeling stronger, healthier and psychologically secure. 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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