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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Our clinical experience is that that acupuncture can help many patients with IBS, and Dr Monk has used this approach for 30 years with good success in this group of patients.
IBS may not be life threatening but it can certainly be can be a life limiting condition - preventing sufferers from leaving the house in bad cases. It is diagnosed according to the Rome II criteria where there is an absence of visible changes to the gut on investigation but where the patient experiences pain, discomfort, bloating and diarrhoea, either singly or in combination, and where this is associated with stool changes. This situation will need to be relatively ongoing as well; the criteria state that this should have occured for at least 3 days a month in the last 3 months.
For patients who have more resistant symptoms we can also teach the Wellness Response - a form of relaxation and one of the mindbody approaches which have been shown to be helpful for IBS.
Keefer, L, and E B Blanchard. “The Effects of Relaxation Response Meditation on the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Results of a Controlled Treatment Study.” Behaviour Research and Therapy 39, no. 7 (July 2001): 801–811.
"I started the Wellness Response with the hope of improving my management of diverticulitis.....(It) has a calming effect with a feel-good factor. I see this therapy as a regular part of daily life. This has not completely replaced other treatments...... but I do feel more in control of my illness and hope at some stage that breathing therapy will dispense with traditional medication completely." PK