Constipation is a frustrating and sometimes painful condition involving infrequent and difficulty passing stools, or the desire to have a bowel movement without the ability to do so. The stools may be hard, dry and pebble-like, or normal. It is an extremely common condition that affects people of all ages.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) “the perfect bowel movement” should look like a brown banana. It should be cylindrical, light brown in colour, solid, and have a mild odour. On average one to three “satisfying bowel movements” per day or every second day is considered normal and healthy. A “satisfying bowel movement” should feel like a full evacuation that doesn’t require strain or stress to complete. If your poo does not fit the description of the perfect bowel movement your body is telling you something is wrong.
A number of factors can affect the digestive system and result in constipation, but most commonly constipation is a byproduct of dehydration, poor diet and eating habits, stress, sedentary lifestyle, or a negative side-effect of medications.
Acupuncture is able to help relieve constipation by managing the body's stress response and transition the nervous system from a fight or flight state to a rest and digest state. It is also effective at stimulating “intestinal peristalsis” (the involuntary movement of the digestive tract), while Chinese herbal medicines can help to clear intestinal inflammation and bacterial overgrowth promoting a healthy gut flora.
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Ryan Samuels - Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbalist