Inflammatory Bowel Disease Protocols in Chinese Medicine
Ulcerative colitis is considered a complicated condition in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with many possible patterns of imbalance presenting during different stages of the disease process. The most common pattern of imbalance with colitis is called Damp-Heat. While the causes of colitis are not well understood, Chinese medical theory dictates that there must be underlying constitutional imbalances for this inflammatory process to occur; these can be due to hereditary influences or poor lifestyle habits. Because this is considered a Organ-level constitutional condition, regular application of Acu-sticks to correlated acupressure points, external topical remedies, and organic herbs are often required for for many months to address this condition fully.
Colitis Acupressure Points for Self-care
- Apply the Water Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Kidney 3
- Apply the Moxa Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Ren 6
- Apply the Earth Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Stomach 37
- Apply the Earth Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Spleen 3
- Apply the Earth Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Spleen 9
- Apply the Earth Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Spleen 10
- Apply the Wood Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Liver 3
Types of Imbalances that Cause Colitis
Spleen Qi Imbalances Contributing to Colitis
The Spleen energetic organ system of Chinese medicine is quite different from the spleen of western medicine. In Chinese medicine, the Spleen is all about the ability to convert food and fluid into viable substances that benefit the body; it is central to all digestive processes. Loss of appetite and fatigue are classic symptoms of Spleen Qi Deficiency. Additionally, if the Spleen is not functioning properly, Internal Dampness will develop. Consider our organic Restore the Middle Way formula!
Kidney Yang Deficiency
Yin is substance, tissue, and Blood in the body; Yang relates to energetic qualities such as Qi, movement, and warmth in the body. Yang is dependent on Yin as the two are inter-related and inter-dependent. Chronic Yin Deficiency will eventually lead to Kidney Yang Deficiency and Coldness. Consider our organic Ancestor Treasure Yang formula used with our organic Yin Valley formula!
Cold in the Lower Jiao
Those suffering with colitis can go through periods when inflammation and Heat are replaced by Cold; this is because of the Yin-Yang theory that dictates that a fire cannot burn indefinitely and will eventually burn out. This pattern of hot-cold/Yin-Yang cycles will repeat itself throughout the disease process.
Liver Qi Stagnation Contributing to Colitis
The Liver energetic organ system of Chinese medicine is sensitive to emotional stresses. Chronic emotional stress leads to a constriction of the flow of Qi of the Liver leading to Liver Heat: inflammation relates to Heat. As the Liver becomes more agitated it tends to strike out at other organs such as the Spleen and Large Intestine; but more importantly in this condition the resulting pathogenic Heat combines with pathogenic Dampness leading to Damp Heat. Abdominal pain and cramping would be common with Liver Qi Stagnation. Consider our organic Free and Easy Wanderer formula!
Other Complicated Types of Ulcerative Colitis
Damp-Heat and Colitis
As Damp-Heat becomes more severe, diarrhea with blood or pus may develop. True Heat would often present with a fever. One would contact their local health care professional or licensed acupuncturist to address this.
Wei Qi and Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is often viewed as an auto-immune disease; this would be related to Wei Qi Deficiency. Support the immune system with adaptogenic herbs. Consider our organic Enlightened Emperor formula
Stagnation of Blood
The Liver influences the Qi circulation of the entire body. Where Qi goes, Blood goes, therefore Qi Stagnation leads to Blood Stagnation. Chronic Liver Qi Stagnation can result in Blood Stagnation. Symptoms of developing Blood Stagnation in colitis would include sharp stabbing pain. Again, you would want to contact your local licensed acupuncturist to address this severe condition.
Bacterial and viral pathogens can complicate and contribute to colitis; however, according to Chinese medicine, the organ systems must already by compromised or weakened in order for pathogens to attack the body.
Kidney Yin Deficiency
Heat in the body consumes Yin. As Yin Deficiency develops, indications of Deficient Heat will appear. True Heat is indicated with a real fever; Deficient Heat presents with a feeling of fever, but no real temperature rise; afternoon sweats, hot flashes, and night sweats. Consider our organic Yin Valley formula!
Stein DJ. Massage Acupuncture, Moxibustion, and Other Forms of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2017 Dec;46(4):875-880. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2017.08.015. Epub 2017 Oct 3. PMID: 29173528.
Ji J, Huang Y, Wang XF, Ma Z, Wu HG, Im H, Liu HR, Wu LY, Li J. Review of Clinical Studies of the Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis Using Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2016;2016:9248589. doi: 10.1155/2016/9248589. Epub 2016 Nov 3. PMID: 27885326; PMCID: PMC5112307.
Wang X. Clinical Observation of Warming and Tonifying the Spleen and Kidney Combined with Moxibustion in Treating Ulcerative Colitis of Spleen-Kidney Yang Deficiency. Nanjing, China: Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine; 2014.
Dong W. Q. Clinical Observation of Herb-Separated Moxibustion in the Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis with Spleen-Kidney Yang Deficiency. Beijing University of Chinese Medical; 2014.
Wang X. M., Wu H. G., Liu H. R., et al. TCM etiology and pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis and acupoints features review. Liaoning Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2007;34(7):891–893.