The gastrointestinal system (GIT) plays a central role in health. In 13th Century China, the physician Li Dong Yuan developed a school of practice centred around this same idea. When our gastrointestinal system functions efficiently, we have adequate nutrition, thus affecting other systems in the body. In fact, our gut’s health also influences our immune, nervous, and cardiovascular systems; it plays a role in inflammation and neuro-endocrine function, hormone balance, and also affects the detoxification system of the liver.
At the root of most common GIT complaints, as well as many other complex chronic illnesses, is the issue of malabsorption and maldigestion. This is where the processing of nutrients is impaired, usually by issues such as:
- not chewing food properly
- stomach acid insufficiency
- low pancreatic functioning
- liver/gallblader dysfunction
- small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- bowel mucosal damage
- bacterial/viral infections
- intestinal permeability
- digestive enzyme insufficiency
- side-effects of drugs and incorrect treatments
- and diseases such as Crohns’ Disease, Giardasis, and lactose intolerance
Our GIT is normally populated by a variety of micro-organisms which play a symbiotic role. When our guts are populated by a healthy ecology, then our digestive system works efficiently. There are always present a number of micro-organisms that aren’t that useful, but in a healthy gut they are in relatively low concentration. Dysbiosis occurs when the ratio of ‘good’ micro-organisms is lower than the number of ‘bad’ micro-organisms. When this occurs systems such as indigestion, gas, bloating, IBS, constipation, diarrhoea, reflux, and abdominal pain.
Intestinal dysbiosis should also be considered as a disease-promoting mechanism is cases of chronic inflammatory disorders, immune system dysfunction, food allergies and intolerances, breast & colon cancer, and unexplained fatigue, malnutrition, and neuropsychiatric symptoms.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, these are described as the “Middle Burner Disharmony” or “Spleen and Stomach Deficiency”. It involves the Taiyin and Yangming channel networks. While acupuncture assists in shunting the qi and blood of the body through these channel networks, herbal medicine and nutritional support assists in creating the necessary bio-chemical changes in the GIT to effect changes.
There is also the situation where intestinal parasitic infection takes over the ecology of the GIT. Bugs such as Blastocystis hominis, Dientamoeba fragilis, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia and Klebsiella can all play havoc in our GIT and affect normal digestive functioning.
These are very easy to eliminate – when a practitioner knows what they are doing! Many conventional medicine practitioners will simply prescribe antibiotics. The reason why these often don’t work is because these gut bugs wrap themselves in a bio-film and embed themselves into the lining of your gut. Chinese Medicine practice takes a four-fold approach to dealing with parasitic infestation: starve the bug, pierce the bio-film, flush them out of the gut, and then re-build gut ecology! With the correct identification and treatment principle, one can be free of these pesky little hitch-hikers in no time.
Whilst a thorough Chinese Medicine diagnostic consultation will usually reveal the nature of any GIT disorder, we find that further functional pathology testing such as a Complete Digestive Stool Analysis is incredibly beneficial to get to the specific nature of the problem – is this gut bugs, if so which one? If its dysbiosis, is it due to short-chain fatty acids or pancreatic enzyme function?
Treatment still follows traditional methods of acupuncture and herbal medicine, but also nutritional medicine – the idea being that every time we eat, we eat something that will have a specific therapeutic function.
Peter Loupelis is an acupuncturist and traditional Chinese Medicine Herbalist who integrates classical and modern approaches to the treatment of digestive and gastro-intestinal issues. He is able to refer for Digestive Stool Analysis and other functional pathology testing such as Liver Detoxification profiles, Salivary Hormone Profiles, and Complete Thyroid testing.
Call Peter now 03 9486 4111 to organise your Digestive Stool Analysis and set yourself free from digestive and gut complaints.