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Acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Acupuncture Treatment for IBS
and other Digestive Complaints

At our Toronto clinic, acupuncture and moxibustion have been used to treat a variety of digestive conditions for over 20 years.

Acupuncture has traditionally been utilized for the treatment of a variety of digestive complaints. Research studies have suggested that acupuncture may be effective for certain cases of nausea, vomiting, gastroesophageal reflux disease, functional dyspepsia, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation.  Digestive symptoms could improve after acupuncture treatment partly because acupuncture affects the motility and perception of the digestive organs. Laboratory research using rats and dogs demonstrated that acupuncture stimulation significantly impacted gastrointestinal motility and visceral perception, both of which are closely associated with the development of IBS symptoms. Read more about Scientific Rationale of Acupuncture Treatment for IBS and other Digestive Disorders.

Many women with IBS experience intensified symptoms around the time of menstruation.  It is therefore believed that reproductive hormones play a role in IBS. This is possible, since the female hormonal system (HPG Axis) and stress hormones (HPA Axis) interact closely.  Recent epidemiological studies suggest that IBS is significantly associated with psychological stress and mood disorders.  A well-known, close relationship, called the “brain-gut interaction,” exists between emotion and gastrointestinal function.  IBS is considered by gastroenterologists to be a “difficult” condition with significant psychological components. [Thompson WG et al. 2000]

Carefully designed, individualized, and comprehensive acupuncture programs are needed to provide profound clinical benefits for many IBS patients.

Our treatment consists primarily of stimulating acupoints traditionally known to restore digestive functions by using both acupuncture and moxibustion.  In addition, it includes acupuncture and moxibustion therapy for emotional health and hormonal imbalances.

We offer Comprehensive Approach for Digestive Health

Treatment Includes:

  • Health Evaluation Session – includes review of health, Traditional East Asian Medicine examinations, and overview of our specialized treatment with a large screen presentation.
  • Acupuncture – Traditional acupuncture treatment applied on specific acupuncture points located on both front and back part of the body.*
  • Moxibustion – comfortable heat is applied to selected acupuncture points. Indirect moxa increases local blood flow and induces a deep relaxation response.*
  • HRV Biofeedback Breathing Therapy – A patient’s respiration is gently guided to most desirable rhythm to optimize autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates our digestive functions.  This approach is highly useful for the management of stress.
  • Acupressure Massage – Selected acupoints are stimulated utilizing heat generating natural herbal cream to stimulate circulation and enhance relaxation.
  • Kampo Herbal Medicine (optional)

* The exact treatment approach will vary depending on each individual’s situation. Read more about our IBS Acupuncture treatment.

IBS Diet?  While certain diets may relieve or trigger IBS symptoms, some IBS sufferers also experience a complete resolution of symptoms during times of relaxation, such as while on vacation, even if their diets are “poor” and they are eating forbidden or unusual foods. On the other hand, at other (i.e., stressful) times, anything they put in their mouths (even plain water) may cause immediate abdominal bloating and trigger other IBS symptoms. The bottom line: diet maybe important, but whether or not certain diets help or aggravate could be influenced by other factors such as the individual’s emotional state during a particular time period. Addressing diet alone will most likely be insufficient to achieve long-term management of IBS. (Related Article: Is There an Ideal IBS Diet?)

Not all acupuncture protocols produce the same effects or benefits: Currently, acupuncture is performed by not only professionally trained acupuncturists or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners but also by a variety of practitioners such as physiotherapists, naturopaths, or chiropractors. It should be noted that even among qualified acupuncturists, the techniques used vary greatly according to each one’s training background in acupuncture.

The acupuncture system used at The Pacific Wellness Institute is an individual based holistic approach that is designed to address the root cause of the IBS. Acupuncture points and procedures vary from patient to patient and session to session.

Our clinic is located at 80 Bloor Street West, Suite 1100 (At the corner of Bay and Bloor Street in Toronto).  If you are interested in receiving treatments, please follow New Patient Application procedures or please call us at 416-929-6958.

“Your health concerns will be addressed in the most effective and timely manner possible. The acupuncture treatment system I have developed is designed to relieve your symptoms and improve your overall health simultaneously, which encompasses the knowledge and skills that I have acquired through my extensive research and clinical experience in acupuncture and alternative medicine.”

T.H. Tanaka, Ph.D., R.Ac, R.TCMP

Clinic Director, The Pacific Wellness Institute Toronto, Ontario


Mon – Fri — 9:00am – 7:00pm
Saturday — 9:00am – 4:30pm
Sunday — Closed

Contact us

80 Bloor Street West, Suite 1100, Toronto, Ontario
M5S 2V1, Canada

(416) 929-6958