Before we can talk about how Eastern Medicine can be effective for stomach issues, we need to establish the differences between what are stomach issues in Western versus Eastern Medicine. Massage and Acupuncture are effective tools for gastrointestinal disorders such as: GERD, peptic ulcers, reflux, gallstones, IBS, diarrhea, and constipation. However, only the first three are directly associated with the stomach in both Western and Eastern medicine. In addition, the emotion of worry and the process of over thinking are also stomach problems in Eastern medicine.
Treating the Stomach in Western Medicine
The typical treatment for stomach problems in Western Medicine involves reflux medicines like rantinidine (Zantac), esomeprazole (Nexium), and OTCs like milk of magnesium, Pepsi bismol, or Tums. In the case of an ulcer, these drugs along with antibiotics to kill the bacteria H. pylori is typical treatment. Moreover, a doctor will suggest a change in diet and restrict the use of NSAIDs, which can irritate the lining of the stomach. The problem with these drugs is that the body can become dependent on them and should only be used in a short course.
The main cause of stomach issues aside from H. pylori (ulcers) is stress, diet, and weakening of the muscles (sphincters) responsible for closing off the stomach from the esophagus and small intestines. Aside from the above mentioned, Western Medicine has nothing else to offer. This is where Eastern medicine can help.
Treating the Stomach in Eastern Medicine
In Eastern medicine, along with a change in diet, massage and acupuncture are the first line of defense for stomach issues. As said before, stomach issues are associated with over thinking and worry. So a practitioner has this in mind during treatment.
Acupuncture Stomach Treatment
As suspected, the Stomach points are needled, along with the partners Spleen/Pancreas points. In addition, the controlling organs of Stomach are Liver and Gallbladder, and the supporting organs of Stomach are Heart and Small Intestine. All of which need their channels clear for the Stomach to work properly. The emotion of the controlling organs is anger/frustration. The emotion of the supporting organs is over joy/excitement (anxiety). A person experiencing these emotions along with over thinking is expressing the blockage through their emotions. In clearing this cycle, acupuncture allows the needed energy to the organ for normal function.
Massage Stomach Treatment
The key value to massage in all cases is that our body is a complex system that interacts constantly on a cellular level. It is made up of tissue. If that tissue gets blocked on any level – skeletal/muscular, connective, organ, or vessel there can be repercussions for the other tissue closest to the blockage.
For example: if the ribs are misaligned for more than 1 week, the body will begin to develop adhesions to support the misalignment. That soft tissue blockage is right by the stomach organ. If left there, it puts pressure on the organ (there isn’t much space available in our abdomen). The stomach then begins to lessen its function. If nothing is done about this, the stomach becomes compromised and therefore a patient’s starts showing signs of stomach issues. Soft tissue work can free the adhesions, correct the rib misalignment, and allow energy to move again improving stomach function.
Additional Stomach Treatment
Along with diet, massage, and acupuncture, breathing practices, stretching and balancing exercises are all additional part of a treatment plan that you would find here at Ground Luminosity. For example: rib breathing where a person brings air into the space between the ribs, and belly breathing where a person fills up the whole abdomen. Stretching for at least 2- 5 minutes each day which could include side bends, hangman, arching the back, hip rolls.