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Acupuncture Blog

Rebecca’s Story: Acupuncture and Constipation

07/28/15

Case Study

Constipation is one of the common complaints we hear about on a daily basis. There are many reasons for this kind of digestive problem. One of the causes is: Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement or delaying it until later. However, in daily practice, both professionals and patients often neglect this as a cause. At our office, we’ve helped many patients like this.

Rebecca Tillman, female, 46 years old, came to our office with a 20 year history of constipation. During this time she would only have a bowel movement every 3-6 days. The problem started at the age of 26, when she started her PhD program. The program required her to study hard, read a lot and write many essays. Although eating carefully and healthy at the time, she started to develop an irregular bowel movement. She ignored these signs and then soon enough the constipation started to affect her daily life and studies. Ever since, she went to many doctors and specialists. No one could find anything wrong with her, they either told her to take laxatives or change her diet. However, the results were unsatisfactory.

In our office, we went through all the details about her daily life, from early morning until she went to bed. In terms of the details regarding her bowel movement, she told us she developed a habit, during her PhD program, to read necessary information for her work or exams during her bowel movement to save time. At times she would even forget to go to the bathroom, even though she was sitting on the toilet. Once we combined the diagnosis from the other specialists with the details of the bowel movement habit, we realized what the problem was. It was obvious she developed a bad habit with her bowel movement. She would be distracted so much while she was using the bathroom that her nervous system would concentrate more on reading instead of the bowel movement. At the time, the nervous system became used to dealing with two things: reading and going to the bathroom. As a result, the bowel movement was no longer as easy as a normal one.

We suggested to Rebecca, that in order to change this habit she should concentrate on the bowel movement, to not read or think about anything else, until she finished. Meanwhile, we gave her some Shen(spirit and mind) related acupuncture points such as: Si-Shencong, Shenmen plus Chengshan, Zhigou, Tianshu and Siguan. After 12 sessions, within a month and half period, her constipation improved significantly, she would have a bowel movement either once a day or once every other day. She was very happy with these results. We followed up with her for half a year, her bowel movement was fine ever since.

What you should take away from this case study:

Although she suffered for a while and it looked like a complicated case, it was actually very simple. As soon as we found the cause we treated her with acupuncture points for regulating and re-balancing her nervous and digestive system, then her bowel movements became normal. TCM and acupuncture has a long history of treating constipation either simple or complicated cases. In fact, there are many acupuncture points and herbal formulas that are good for constipation issues. If you do have a complicated case, you would really need to follow the TCM and acupuncture rules, which are pattern differentiation and treatment. Only in this way can you really get good results.


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