Dr. Maoshing Ni is an experienced Acupuncturist and herbalist who has dealt with IBS. Dr. Maoshing Ni, PhD, DOM, L.Ac., Co-Founder and Medical Director at the Tao of Wellness clinic in Santa Monica, California and Co-Founder and Chancellor at Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Los Angeles, was interviewed by the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. Following is an excerpt of an interview regarding acupuncture’s role in treating patients with IBS.
Acupuncture is a very effective tool for relieving the symptoms of IBS for patients. As part of the treatment, he couples it with stress management and dietary changes, since emotional factors, diet, drugs, or hormones may precipitate or aggravate IBS.
I have seen many IBS patients over the past year as an intern at the teaching clinic affiliated with the CanadianCollege of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Canada. In order to gain further insight into this disorder, I decided to interview Dr. Ni, based on his wealth of knowledge and experience in using acupuncture to treat these patients. The first question I asked was what advice he would give to patients who may be considering acupuncture for their IBS condition.
“While acupuncture is effective in giving relief to patients with IBS, effective management requires a holistic approach,” he replied. “That means that patients need to be proactive and make the necessary adjustments to their diet and stress level. It is realistic to expect that IBS patients can live, for the most part, symptom-free using this combination.”
I then asked Dr. Ni what he would say to doctors who are considering using acupuncture in treating patients with IBS.
“It’s safe, effective and can be a wonderful way to help patients connect their body with their mind,” he answered. “After all, smooth muscle spasms of the intestinal tract coupled with inflammation, is best treated through the autonomic nervous system that has the direct control of these processes.”
With nearly two decades of experience, Dr. Ni also knows common errors that doctors make when designing acupuncture protocols for IBS patients.
“A common mistake is to presume that a course of say, ten treatments at a weekly interval would relieve the problem, and that if the relief isn’t achieved within that period of time, then the doctor presumes that it’s ineffective,” says Dr. Ni. “It can take time to effect the normalizing of the autonomic nervous system which is likely to be programmed by years of unconscious mind-body nervous habits. Through acupuncture and stress-releasing techniques like meditation and Qi gong, the mind-body awareness is first established, and then conscious efforts to cause a functional change can be achieved over time. One must give time to be successful in treatment of IBS.”
I concluded the interview by asking for any other advice he would give to doctors in treating IBS patients.
“Simply using drugs isn’t getting at the root of the problem. Similarly, diet is important. Doctors need to emphasize healthy and proper eating habits,” notes Dr. Ni. “Consistent and set meal times, eating in a relaxed manner, taking time to chew one’s food, avoiding refined and processed foods, making sure to get plenty of cooked whole grain and cooked vegetable fiber, minimizing animal product consumption, especially dairy, avoiding alcohol, caffeine and sugar, deep fried and fatty goods, and acidic foods such as tomatoes and vinegar, will all reduce the irritation of the intestines and assist in the recovery process.”
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