IBS and Gastrointestinal Support

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (“IBS”) is a disorder of  the intestines, and affects as many as 1 in 5 Americans.  This syndrome describes a group of symptoms, including abdominal pain, irregular bowel movement (diarrhea and constipation), gas, and bloating. While IBS is a recent label applied to these symptoms, identical problems have been described in classical Chinese medical texts, and treated through Acupuncture and Moxibustion for over 3000 years.

During my first visit Bronwyn Clark asked detailed questions about my digestive system, and then walked me through the low FODMAP diet. If only I had learned when I was 10 what I am learning in my 30’s and avoided years of unnecessary pain and suffering! Bronwyn helped me identify ingredients in my foods that were causing my symptom, like not all ketchup is the same! At last I am living a comfortable and happy life free from IBS.
— Kate S.

Although the cause of IBS is unclear, we know that it is not caused by anatomical problems or infection.  Some patients experience a flare-up in symptoms during stressful times, and so researchers theorize that there is a direct link between the brain and gastrointestinal (“GI”) system.  In such instances, Acupuncture becomes a wonderful tool for not only addressing the GI symptoms, but also alleviating the stress that may be contributing to symptoms.


Some IBS patients understand that there are food triggers, but struggle to identify food ingredients or food groups because symptoms can be intermittent. This is when a thorough elimination diet is in order.  Acupuncturist Bronwyn Clark has extensive training in Chinese Medicine Nutrition, and personal expertise in utilizing a Low FODMAP* Diet.  During your initial consultation, Bronwyn Clark will assess if you are a good candidate for this diet and talk you through some of the complicated issues when beginning a Low FODMAP elimination diet.

*Low FODMAP (Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) For more information, see Patsy Catsos, “IBS- Free at Last” (2d. Ed., Pond Cove Press, 2012).

How is IBS Treated?

Moxibustion is used to warm points along the abdomen.   Learn More

Moxibustion is used to warm points along the abdomen. Learn More

From the perspective of Chinese Medicine, IBS symptoms often involve a disruption of Qi in the Liver or Spleen pathways.  The Liver oversees the smooth flow of Qi and Substances throughout the body, and the Spleen is responsible for breaking down food and transforming it into usable energy (Qi and Blood). Both the Liver and Spleen can be weakened through stress and lifestyle choices, and Acupuncture seeks to reestablish balance in the affected meridians so that symptoms are alleviated.

Over the last decade, Chinese Medicine Doctors at Shanghai Research Institute of Acupuncture studied the therapeutic mechanisms of Moxibustion on IBS patients and clinical trials.  The findings, which have been widely published, found that Moxibustion therapy was over 76% effective for alleviating IBS symptoms when applied to specific points alongs the Stomach meridian.