Relieving Constipation According to Traditional Chinese Medicine
How does balancing yin and yang help in relieving constipation?
I have a hard time comprehending a medical concept based on philosophical circulation of qi as the foundation of life and health. It's like exploring another universe for me, a person educated to analyze my bodily functions the same way I analyze mechanisms of a car.
On the hand, I am thinking of folks who find no relief despite diligently doing exercise, drinking water, dietary fiber...you know, those usual remedies.
There must be some overlooked factors. Perhaps, the Chinese have part of the answers.
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine? - A Clinical Study Case
Consider the experience of a patient who consulted a Chinese physician in Beijing three times.
This 25-year old man has been constipated for two years since he has been treated and recovered from dysentery. His bowel movements are once every two days in which he strains up to half and hour only to bleed out dry pellets.
The physician notices his cracking bleeding lips, dry mouth, dry nose and dry throat.
The patient's other symptoms are: swollen belly, bad appetite, weight loss and fatigue.
His red tongue has a thin cracking coating. His pulse is full and rapid.
The diagnosis - constipation due to excess heat.
His treatment - a concoction of 13 types of herbal medicine " to nourish the yin and moisturize the dryness."
After the first round of medication, the patient's lips stops cracking and bleeding and his abdominal distention reduces. However, the stool problem persists.
During second consultation, only two types of medicinal herbs are given to him.
He returns for the third consultation fully recovered. He has normal bowel movements once a day.
Herbs with a Different Purpose
How do the herbs help him? I would think to strengthen his digestive organs. But that was only a small part of the correct answer.
The main purpose of the herbs is to strengthen his lungs and kidneys.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the lungs and the large intestines have a close relationship in their water metabolism function as they are connected by their meridians : the lungs regulate passage of water while the large intestine absorbs fluid.
Then there's the lung qi that descends to the large intestine to regulate its transmission functions.
If the lung qi is weak which is indicated by dry mouth, nose and throat, the large intestine's transmission functions will be impaired, causing constipation.
Also, the lungs and kidneys are upper and lower sources of fluids respectively. Hence, the need to correct both lungs and kidneys simultaneously for relieving constipation effectively.
By observing the condition of tongue and pulse, there are five patterns of constipation:
1. Excess heat ( As illustrated in the example above ).
2. Excess cold.
3. Qi stagnation.
4. Qi deficiency.
5. Fluid deficiency.
Other traditional Chinese medicine methods include: acupressure and gua sha. TCM is inadequate for relieving constipation caused by tumors or obstruction. In this case, patients should seek what the Chinese term as " Western" medical treatment.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinical Case Studies, Edited by Professor Chen Keji, M.D. Page 83-84
Practical Traditional Chinese Medicine, Professor Xie Zhufan