Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine | Digestion

Digestive health

If you are interested in making an Appointment with one of our team or would simply like to see if Acupuncture may be appropriate for you, please feel free to contact the Clinic on (03) 87197373 or Book Online below 

It is suggested that over half our population will suffer from digestive or gut upset in any 12 month period (1). We all know someone with heartburn, diarrhoea, an ulcer, irritable bowel or Crohn’s disease, colitis, or even parasitic infections from overseas travel. And the rates are increasing.


Common Gut disorders and testing


Some of the most common disorders are usually investigated through the following tests;



There are many upper gastrointestinal investigations. The commonest of these is diagnostic endoscopy, which allow inspection of the whole of the oesophagus stomach and duodenum. The investigation is very accurate and is the main method of diagnosing stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, Helicobacter pylori infection, gastric polyps, cancers of the stomach, and oesophagus and Coeliac Disease.



X-rays taken while swallowing Barium have largely been superseded by endoscopy. This investigation still remains valuable in the diagnosis of swallowing disorders.  Muscular disorders can also be examined with motility probes which allow an accurate record of muscle contraction. This can be associated with PH measurement to determine acid reflux into the oesophagus.




A special form of endoscopy called endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography can be used to examine the pancreas and biliary tree. In this test a side viewing endoscope is inserted into the duodenum and access can be gained to the pancreatic and bile duct to diagnose stones, tumours and other abnormalities. A variety of therapeutic procedures including removal of stones and the insertion of stents can be performed.




Endoscopic ultrasound allows for much for accurate assessment of structures in or close to the oesophagus, stomach, duodenum and pancreas because the probe situated on the end of the endoscope can be closely approximated to the area being examined. It is particularly useful in the assessment of tumours in the wall of the gut, a detection of bile duct stones and the assessment of pancreatic abscesses and tumours.




Colonoscopy involves examination of the whole of the large bowel with a flexible video instrument.  A variety of therapeutic procedures can be undertaken during colonoscopy.  This will include the removal of polyps. In the application of heat or metal clipping devices to bleeding lesions, the dilatation of strictures and the insertion of metal stents. Colonoscopy is the most accurately investigation for diagnosing colonic cancer and polyps.




Various types of stool testing can be performed, depending on level of information required. At Balanced Life Health Care we use BioScreen and Nutripath testing for both parasitology and bacterial content of stool to give you an overall view of what is going on in your digestive tract.




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Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal treatment of common digestive complaints at Balanced Life Health Care Ferntree Gully


At Balanced Life Health Care we combine Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and dietary modifications with Stool testing and functional medical testing where appropriate for the treatment of common digestive complaints.

Acupuncture treatment of Common Digestive Complaints The Research


Unfortunately the use of Acupuncture in of many of the most common gut disorders has not yet been researched. However Acupuncture in the use of the following conditions has been researched and considered to have a potentially positive effect; Constipation, Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD), Irritable Bowel disease (IBS) and even obesity. This could indicate that future research into other gut disorders will also have a positive outcome.


Here are the findings;


  • Constipation; SVA review 2014 (2)
  • Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD); Langhorst 2015 (SR of 2 RCTs: one on Crohn’s disease, one on ulcerative colitis): Acupuncture superior to sham in disease activity and wellbeing but no different in QoL; low quality evidence (2 studies with low risk of bias but small samples)(3)
  • Irritable Bowel disease (IBS); MacPherson 2016 (High quality RCT): Acupuncture superior to usual care on IBS symptom severity score at 6, 9 and 12 months but not at 24 months (4)
  • Obesity; Esteghamati 2015 (Critical review of 3 SRs): Acupuncture superior to medication, sham and lifestyle modification; low to very low quality evidence (5)


For more information about the evidence of Acupuncture and its use in digestive system see Evidence based Acupuncture 




  2. McDonald, John & Janz, Stephen. (2016). The Acupuncture Evidence Project : A Comparative Literature Review (Revised). Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, Coorparoo
  3. Langhorst J, Wulfert H, Lauche R, Klose P, Cramer H, Dobos GJ, et al. Systematic review of complementary and alternative medicine treatments in inflammatory bowel diseases. J Crohns Colitis. 2015 Jan;9(1):86-10
  4. MacPherson H, Tilbrook H, Agbedjro D, Buckley H, Hewitt C, Frost C. Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome: 2-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial. Acupunct Med. 2016 Mar 15.
  5. Esteghamati A, Mazaheri T, Vahidi Rad M, Noshad S. Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of obesity: a critical review. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Apr;13(2):e19678.
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