Energetically irritable bowel syndrome always has the same cause, stagnation in the Qi of the liver. The Qi of the liver is responsible for the smooth muscular tissue in the wall of the gastro-intestinal tract, this tissue can be effected by many things, such as emotions (most common), medicines like anti biotics or even viruses or bacteria which is a known trigger for IBS, what ever the cause, something has penetrated the liver Qi and it has stagnated. One of the least known attributes of acupuncture is that it is very good at dispersing any foreign invader that the immune system might be struggling with, be it emotions, bacteria or medicines.

Bacterial infection
An intestinal infection is a trigger for IBS, in this instance we expect to find inflamed tissue in the gut, it is possible to diagnose inflammation on the pulse. In this case cooling the inflammation down and bringing fresh Qi into the gut will probably be enough calm the spasms and return normal gut function.

Stress and emotional trauma
This is the most common cause of IBS, it is well known that stress, anxiety and other emotions effect the gut, the treatment is very similar as in the above example, first the Qi must be moved, then if necessary the emotion (which is called ‘wind’ in Chinese Medicine) needs to be dispersed from the Qi of the liver.

Antibiotics are the most important, but there are potentially many pharmaceutical drugs that could upset the gut such as antidepressants for example. Antibiotics Wipe out gut flora which triggers IBS. The defensive Qi (of the liver) finds it very difficult to detoxify, there is a powerful action of coldness in the body, this coldness which is not temperature but more like a quality of harmful Qi, effects the muscle in the wall of the bowel. It can take the liver many months to detox from just one dose, and years to detox from multi dosages, IV antibiotics is even more harmful and can stay in the body for many years, in fact the incubation period of antibiotics can be more than 20 years and there is growing evidence they can even be carcinogenic. Fortunately acupuncture is excellent at removing them, if they are successfully removed, normal, healthy gut flora will proliferate the gut once again.