An Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine Methods of Relieving Constipation
The methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine discussed below are applicable provided there are no major health issues such as tumors or obstruction.
For constipation that is manageable at home, acupressure is the most versatile and convenient. All a constipated person needs to do is to let his fingers stimulate certain acupressure points on the body. Housewives have been passing around stories of a “poop button” which is three finger widths below the navel. However, it would be more pragmatic to conclude that a person who is more constipated would need to get acupressure more regularly for longer sessions.
Briefly, here are some common acupressure points to relieve constipation:
On the arms – Between the fleshy part of the thumb and index finger, between the bony part of the thumb and index finger, on the wrist below the pinkie, and on the edge of the crease of the elbow when the arm is folded.
Around the navel – Three finger-widths left and right from the navel, from the aforementioned another three fingers downwards.
At the back – Two finger widths from the backbone on the pelvic bone, with arms akimbo use thumbs to feel beneath the lowest rib bone.
Skeptical about acupressure? Remember that acupressure is based on the principles of acupuncture. Patients who do not respond to acupressure will most likely respond when needles are inserted to the four acupoints around the navel. The effect of acupuncture on post-operation constipation was observed on a fluoroscope where the needles inserted on limbs produced movements in the intestines! Although medical science is not able to explain Traditional Chinese Medicine, experts in the field of electromedicine have noted that traditional acupressure meridians and points contain amounts of electromagnetic energy that non-acupressure points do not.
For a more vigorous treatment of constipation at home not as painful as acupuncture, a method called gua sha is another option. Basically gua sha means to scrape the skin until red spots called petechiae which resemble sand, emerge. Gua sha is also practiced in the homes of people living in Asia, notably in Vietnam and Indonesia. In the case of constipation, a smooth edge tool, for example, a porcelain spoon lubricated by rice wine or herbal oil, is used to scrape on acupoints surrounding the navel and the backbone in downward strokes.
When the constipation problem is brought to the attention of a physician of Traditional Chinese Medicine, among the many symptoms he observes is the pulse and tongue. The physician will ascertain whether the constipation is caused by excess warmth, excess cold, or reduction of qi in the body. Then he corrects the imbalanced yin and yang accordingly, usually prescribing herbs to restore harmony.
For example in the case of excess heat, the herbs are not only prescribed to heal the intestines but also to strengthen the lungs and kidneys which are regarded as sources of fluids for smooth bowel movements. Is Traditional Chinese Medicine effective in treating constipation? Numerous medical clinical case studies will tell you it is.