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This 35 year old woman came to me with a chief complaint of peri-umbilical abdominal pain that had started one month ago. When it began she visited a local free clinic where a variety of tests were performed, including imaging, all inconclusive. She was diagnosed with PID, given antibiotics, and sent home. Since then she has been experiencing pain daily, often with nausea. The pain is worse with food and stress. She also feels bloated. She recalls six years ago receiving an ultrasound while in Columbia and being told something was wrong with her spleen.
She also reports anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, and recent stressful events, such as the ending of a traumatic relationship and the loss of her job. In early 2018 she had an episode similar to a seizure, where she fell due to loss of muscle control. She is struggling with the lack of a permanent housing situation, which includes not having access to a kitchen, thus making it difficult for her to have control over her diet.
She also reports various other symptoms, such as neck pain, skin rashes, tinnitus, chronic allergies, cough, yeast infections, and PMS.
Her history of birth trauma, the emotional issues she struggles with, and her pulses indicate a primary diagnosis of Heart Shock. In Chinese Medicine experiences that are traumatic and difficult to integrate result in shock to the Heart and as the Heart is the ruler of the body network any instability or chaos in the Heart can go on to affect the rest of the organ networks.
Acupuncture + Herbal Formula for Abdominal Pain
We did acupuncture to restore her connection to her sense of self, needling only 5 points in the treatment. I prescribed a custom herbal formula consisting of cinnamon twig (Gui Zhi), peony root (Bai Shao), fresh ginger root (Sheng Jiang), jujube (Da Zao), licorice root (Gan Cao), oyster shell (Mu Li), dragon bone (Long Gu), scallion (Xie Bai), Pinellia (Ban Xia), and magnolia bark (Hou Po). I also gave her an individualized homeopathic remedy.
It took her several weeks to slowly come off the psychotropic medications she was taking. Two months after seeing me she is doing very well, and reports she is feeling much more steady, positive, hopeful, and grounded.
As I have written on my blog as well importance of stomach in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It encompasses the entire digestive system specifically the hollow space within the stomach and intestines. It helps to nourish the whole body, helps with our mental well being and sense of our life experience.
Scientific Study – Acupuncture Treatment of abdominal pain1
A case published in the Journal of Chinese medicine discusses a 23 year old university student with abdominal pain with nausea and abdominal distension. Prof. Hu Jinsheng from Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion treats this case in only three acupuncture sessions.
Common Acupuncture points for bloating and Gas
Ren 6: Chinese name for Ren 6 is called Qihai that means Sea of Qi. It is located on the frontal middle line of the lower stomach and 1.5 cun below the umbilicus. By rubbing the abdomen in a clockwise direction, the movement activates the stomach to give energy and help provides relief from bloating and heaviness. In addition, Ren 6 helps regulate the kidney function.
Ren 12: This point is on the frontal middle line of the upper stomach and 4 cun above the belly button. Pressing this point will calm and rebalance the digestive tract. It helps to harmonize the intestine and regulate Qi to alleviate bloating.
St25: Stomach 25 pressure point is present in the middle of the stomach and 2 cun lateral to the belly button. Applying pressure on this point will help regulate stomach, spleen and intestines. Named as Celestial Pivot point and is located on either side of the umbilicus.
For abdominal pain cases, I use acupuncture plus herbal formulations to help treat the patients as in this case with a positive outcome.
J Tradit Chin Med. 2002 Dec;22(4):311-3.Acupuncture treatment of abdominal pain