Indigestion, medically recognized as a complex of symptoms including food retention and food not moving effectively through the digestive system, affects a broad spectrum of individuals. It encompasses various sub-symptoms such as indigestion in children and chronic indigestion, manifesting through discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen, bloating, and a feeling of fullness without overeating. Recognizing the nuances of this condition is essential for effective treatment and management.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on indigestion, viewing it as a manifestation of imbalances and disharmony within the body's energy systems.
Unlike Western medicine that often targets symptoms, TCM aims to identify and correct the underlying patterns of disharmony causing indigestion. This holistic approach considers not just the digestive system but the interconnectedness of various bodily functions and energies.
In TCM, indigestion is often attributed to two main patterns: Qi Stagnation and Qi Deficiency. Qi Stagnation, characterized by symptoms like a general sense of fullness, mood swings, and irritability, arises from the impaired flow of energy through the body. This can be due to emotional stress, dietary habits, or other lifestyle factors.
Qi Deficiency, on the other hand, involves a lack of vital energy leading to digestive weaknesses, fatigue, and a lack of appetite. Addressing these root causes is crucial in TCM, employing a holistic treatment strategy.
Explore below more details about what might cause Indigestion according to TCM.
Qi Stagnation in TCM is like having a traffic jam in your body's energy system. Qi, the vital life force that flows through your body, is supposed to move smoothly to maintain health and balance. But with Qi Stagnation, this flow gets blocked or slowed down, like cars stuck on a highway. This can lead to symptoms like feeling stressed, emotional mood swings, and physical discomfort, often described as a feeling of fullness or tightness, especially in the chest or abdomen. It's as though the body's internal energy circulation is disrupted, causing various issues. TCM sees this as an energy flow problem, different from modern medicine's focus on specific physiological processes.... see more
|Indigestion, General fullness, Moving pain, Depression, Irritability, Mood swings, Sighing
|Yue Ju Wan
TCM practitioners often prescribe specific herbal formulas for treating indigestion. For instance, Yue Ju Wan, a formula that promotes Qi movement, is used to alleviate symptoms of Qi Stagnation. This formula, incorporating key herbs like Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu), targets the root causes of digestive discomfort by enhancing the flow of Qi and alleviating Stagnation-related symptoms.
Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address indigestion, organized by cause and by formula type.
Indigestion can be treated by these formulas if it arises from an excess of internal heat, needing actions that clear heat and reduce its intensity.
One such formula is Xiao Cheng Qi Tang
In addition to herbal treatments, TCM also incorporates acupuncture as a therapeutic approach for indigestion. Acupoints such as Weishu BL-21, located near the thoracic vertebra, are used to tonify Stomach Qi and subdue rebellious Qi.
Another point, Lanwei EX-LE-7, found on the Stomach Channel of the leg, is effective in promoting Qi and blood circulation in the intestines. Additionally, Xuanji REN-21, positioned on the sternum, is known for its ability to open the chest, descend Lung Qi, and alleviate food stagnation. These acupoints offer targeted relief, addressing both the symptoms and underlying causes of indigestion.
Explore below some acupoints used to address indigestion, organized by meridian.