Irritable Bowel Syndrome on BBC Radio Oxford

At the beginning of the week I was asked to go on BBC Radio Oxford’s afternoon show to talk about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and how acupuncture can help sufferers with their symptoms. ITV’s Dr Hilary Jones was also on the show to give the conventional medicine view, and to highlight a new study into the illness that suggests 45% of Britons suffer some form of digestive problem.

IBS is an umbrella term for many digestive issues such as pain or discomfort in the abdomen – anywhere between the chest and the hips – and also includes changes in frequency or consistency of stools.

Jo Thoenes (of “Jo in the Afternoon” fame) spoke to a lovely patient of mine, and fellow alternative therapist, Anna Shaw, about how treatment with me helped her with bloating and pain, that was affected by stress and her menstrual cycle. And I explained how we view IBS in Chinese Medicine – all to do with the smooth flow of Qi or energy within the body. Take a listen to what she, and I, said below:

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Emotions can also disrupt the smooth flow of Qi. Stress, frustration or anger can cause energy to move upwards, interrupting the digestive energy’s normal flow. Worry can knot the Qi, causing stagnation, that creates pain and bloating.

We can also offer advice underpinned by Chinese Food Energetics, identifying possible food intolerances, like wheat or dairy, guiding patients toward better food choices. Additionally with IBS, adding in foods that help promote the smooth flow of energy in the body can be beneficial – these foods include green tea, lemon, carrots and almonds – stick around for a recipe and Spring baking film coming your way next week with these very ingredients! As Spring is the season when energy is all about flow and movement and growth, its particularly important to ensure the smooth and correct flow of Qi at this time!

If you recognise some of the symptoms discussed during the show, contact me to discuss how acupuncture could help you have a better quality of life – stop thinking about the potential of needing to go to the toilet wherever you are, stop thinking about whether you can wear your favourite slinky outfit or whether your tummy is too bloated, stop thinking about if you can eat out at a fabulous restaurant without getting pain… start living and feel better! If you’re weary of needles, talk to me about how Chinese Food Energetics could make a difference to your diet.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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Yin O’Clock

I am really struggling to be proactive and productive today. Way too much procrastination, and the grey cloudy weather doesn’t help. My business brain is telling me I need to write blog posts, edit the new Spring baking video I filmed last week, finish my patient notes and the accompanying research and reading… but all I REALLY want to do is sit on the sofa, switch my mind off, and watch the earliest CSI in town, 1970s medical pathologist-come-detective Qunicy ME.

I’m currently sat on the sofa with an apple, lemon and carrot juice, and I have made a deal with myself – write this post, then you can watch Quincy… but for me, there is more to it than JUST being a lazy bum and wanting to veg out! It has taken me a long time to be able to “actively rest”, and get my head around this concept.

I am really rubbish at stopping or slowing down, my mind is always ticking over with everything I must do, the list is endless, and potentially I could ALWAYS be doing something. I have always been this way.

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But as discussed in my post about the petrol crisis, we have a metaphorical tank, and if we are on the go the whole time, without rest, that tank of energy can go down pretty quickly, and we continue going whilst running on empty… this eventually leaches the watery, cooling, moisturising, nourishing Yin energy from our bodies.

For Water CFs in particular (as Water is an inherently Yin substance), but also for many other Elements (or CFs), carving out time to actually STOP, rest, and top up the Yin energy of the body, is incredibly important. A lack of Yin in the body can manifest as, feeling hot or sweaty towards the end of the day or at night, needing a drink of water during the night, feeling “tired in the bones”. We can have a vulnerability to stress, migraines, constipation, dry skin, hot flushes, anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, over the course of our lives, there is a natural depletion of Yin, so it becomes even more important to nurture our Yin the older we get.

Therefore working at having some time to be quiet, inward and still is paramount – all three of these characteristics are important in cultivating more Yin, but are also part of the Yin energy itself. But if you’re anything like me, just sitting quietly on the sofa, pottering around the house, or laying down and resting just doesn’t work – I spend the entire time going “you could be doing x right now”, “why aren’t you doing Y”, “Sally called you earlier, you must remember to call them back”, and so on and so on! That is NOT restful! In fact, it just agitates the Yin energy, creating restlessness and agitation – totally the opposite of the desired intention!

I need something to occupy my over-analytical, chatty mind, whilst I allow my body to rest and for the Yin to be topped up. So my key is to watch something like Quincy; Diagnosis Murder or Murder She Wrote are other valid Yin nourishing TV choices – no real gore or violence, that level of Fear would totally undo all the Yin nourishment! This keeps my mind ticking over, figuring out who did what to whom, so that I am not constantly thinking about what ELSE I could, or should, be doing! I am still, quiet and calm – actively resting my body and quietening my mind! It’s a meditation of sorts, a seventies flashback whodunnit kind of meditation!

So, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to pop the kettle on, watch a bit of Quincy and top up my Yin!! What do you do to carve out “rest” time? Is “active resting” a new concept for you? What could you do to top up your Yin? Could Quincy be helpful for you?! Let me know by leaving your comments below… or ask me how acupuncture can help you top up your Yin too!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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