Have you experienced difficult and infrequent defecation, or sluggish bowel movements? Pay attention, because these may be symptoms of constipation. 

Symptoms of Constipation 

Many individuals experience these symptoms plus changes in their mood such as irritability, inability to sleep, depression, stomach pain, anxiety, and itching of the skin. These symptoms can be related to constipation. If your bowel movement does not correlate with the meals you consumed, it is a sign that you’re constipated. Most individuals feel that if they move their bowels once per day, they’re good. That may be true if you eat one meal per day. However, if you’re eating 3 meals such as breakfast, lunch and dinner, your bowels should move 3 times per day. Think of it this way, what goes in must come out.  

How Can Acupuncture help?

To an acupuncturist, constipation can be due to several factors, such as: Heat accumulation, qi stagnation, qi deficiency, blood deficiency, or even yang deficiency.  In qi stagnation, there’s usually a lot of worry and depression along with very little physical activity in your life. This can impair the transporting and descending function of qi. If Lung qi does not disperse and descend, it will affect the flow of qi in the large intestine.  When that happens, waste builds up in the intestines, causing constipation, which is why it must be eliminated. Another example is: Qi and blood deficiency. When qi is deficient, the energy required to move bowel content becomes inadequate. In blood, yin and essence are deficient, there’s no lubrication in the intestines which leads to dryness and causes constipation. 

The key for an acupuncturist is to determine whether constipation is due to cold or heat in the stomach.  Excessive cold raw foods, or an external pathogenic factor can lead to cold in the stomach that impedes elimination. Heat occurs with excess alcohol consumption as well as sweet and spicy foods. The heat that builds up, then leads to dryness in the intestines and leads to constipation.  Watch the YouTube video to take a look at how cupping therapy can help with constipation.

Until next time, acupuncture is my life, what’s yours?