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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Intestinal Disorders: Richard Brightheart presents important considerations in digestive and elimination problems

Feb 01, 2013 03:53PM ● By Richard Brightheart

People are plagued by a number of digestive and elimination problems. Constipation is usually caused by too much heat in the intestinal tract, which can come from several sources. Chinese medicine would look at the diet and possibly say that heat-producing ingestants such as too much meat and alcohol could be a factor, as both are warming.

Poor spleen and kidney function will also hinder the body’s cooling mechanism. Liver stagnation, or liver fire, can contribute to intestinal heat because the liver heat can invade the stomach, intestines and spleen. Using acupuncture and herbs to reduce the heat and balance the meridian flow, along with diet guidelines, may help immensely.

The role of pathogens

Heat is also created by intestinal pathogens that linger in the intestinal tract. These pathogens can adhere to the mucosa lining of the intestines and feed off the nutrients that are passing by. Parasites such as blastocysis hominis, entamoeba histolytica, dientamoeba fragilis, entamoeba coli, giardia, and a host of others, as well as bacteria such as e-coli, shigella, clostridium and salmonella, can all become a chronic lingering source of inflammation.

Candida albicans, clostridium difficile and e-coli are normal inhabitants of intestinal flora in a healthy person. They can get out of control and become pathogenic following repeated use of antibiotics and steroids or the drugs now commonly prescribed for gastric esophageal reflux disease. This can create severe diarrhea and other more serious symptoms and conditions. Paratuberculosis mycobacterium has been reported in several research studies as a prime candidate in chronic inflammatory intestinal disorders.

Medical terms such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, colitis, ulcerative colitis, acid reflux disease and ulcers all refer to some type of inflammation in the intestinal tract. The medical model acknowledges that heliobacter pyloric is a prime cause of ulcers, but somehow fails to make the connection with various other well-known organisms residing elsewhere in the intestinal tract.

Basically, these labeled diseases are just a chronic inflammatory process somewhere in the digestive tract. If bacteria can cause inflammation in the stomach, then why are the causes of these medically termed syndromes such a mystery?

A new phenomenon, called gastric reflux disease (GERD), is featured in advertisements for medication. A quick review of anatomy shows us that the only thing that divides the esophagus from the stomach is a sphincter. It cannot be such a stretch to understand that the same bacteria that causes ulcers, or another bacterium, could easily be located at the upper end of the stomach and cause inflammation in the area of this sphincter. Helicobacter pylori, shigella, salmonella, e-coli and a host of others can infect this sphincter and cause the labeled syndrome.

Allergies and sensitivities

Allergies and sensitivities can trigger intestinal dysfunction. Allergies affect meridian flow in the body. Because most meridians are associated with a particular organ, sensitivity to wheat, for instance, may cause a disruption of energy flow to the large intestine meridian, which may produce diarrhea.

Another example might be sensitivity to the mineral calcium, which is found in so many foods and supplements. This could cause a disruption of energy flow to the stomach meridian. We may experience nausea when taking a calcium supplement, but never connect that this wonderful mineral is not compatible with the stomach’s meridian flow.

Many people have intolerance to gluten, which can be a major contributor. They are told that they must avoid gluten foods, which include most of the grains, for the rest of their lives. Wheat and corn are common foods that can cause intestinal disturbances. A skilled practitioner can accomplish a sensitivity re-patterning for any of these substances.

Most intestinal disorders have two things at the source. Intestinal pathogens and food allergies are usually the key players. The pathogens create a low-grade inflammatory process, much like a low-simmering fire, while the food sensitivities represent the hot burning wood that is constantly stoking the fire. Both must be eliminated before permanent relief can be attained.

Using the whole gamut of resources available such as acupuncture, herbs, nutritional support, sensitivity re-patterning and pathogen elimination encompasses a holistic approach to help restore the digestive system to a healthy state. Finally rebuilding the damaged gut lining is essential to full recovery.

Richard Brightheart, LAC, MAc, LMP, focuses on treating ongoing pain and chronic illness in his Scottsdale practice. For more information, call 360-705-1960 or visit

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