Digestive Disorders

Acupuncture treatment for  Digestive Disorders
Digestive Disorders

The team at the Rozelle Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Centre (RACM) Sydney offers Chinese Medicine (CM) treatment for a range of conditions that have shown promising results through CM clinical trials.

Our team also advises on best evidence laboratories for food allergy and intolerance testing, as well as testing for gut pathogens, bacteria, and parasites.

The Gut-Brain Connection

The digestive system may influence hormone balance, stress levels, memory, cognition, mood, immune response, and inflammatory processes, because most of the chemicals controlling the brain are also located in the gut. These include hormones and neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Dopamine, Glutamate, GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid), native benzodiazepines, small brain proteins, and natural opiates (Carabotti et al 2015).

The gastrointestinal system or enteric nervous system (ENS) and the brain or central nervous system (CNS) communicate through a bi-directional communication link, called the Gut-Brain Axis (GBA).

The science of the GBA explains how digestive health and what we eat, potentially impacts the health of every other system in the body. The ENS is often referred to as ‘the second brain’, because it can act independently of the brain, but its main functions are to maintain proper digestive function, regulate brain chemistry, and influence neuroendocrine and neuroimmune systems.

Emotional well-being and digestive health

The enteric nervous system (ENS) ‘talks’ with the brain and CNS via the Gut-Brain Axis (GBA). Because the GBA links emotional and cognitive centres in the brain with the ENS, emotional well-being and mental health may influence the digestive system. The digestive system may also influence mental health.

Of significance, in order to maintain good health, the gastrointestinal system requires over 400 strains of good bacteria. The GBA links bi-directional communication from the gut bacteria to the brain, and the brain to the gut bacteria, allowing unhealthy gut bacteria to potentially influence hormone balance, anxiety, stress, memory, cognition, mood, and immune response.

Emotional well-being, digestion and the immune system

Emotional wellbeing and digestive health may influence the immune system as well (how well we respond to colds, flus and bacterial infections, or whether we instead develop a hyper-vigilant immune response, such as allergies or autoimmune disease), because there are immune cells in the gut, and most immune cells have receptors to neurotransmitters.

For example, when the gut bacteria are healthy, the immune system responds quickly to colds and flus and infection. When the gut bacteria are not healthy, chronic chest infections may occur, as well as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and autoimmune diseases such as Coeliac, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, and elevated Natural Killer (NK) cells.

On the other hand, the CNS influences the digestive system in an unhealthy way when stress and anxiety promote the development of pathogenic types of gut bacteria. Stress can also lead to changes in the permeability of the lining of the intestines, allowing minute particles of food to leak through into the blood stream, which in turn stimulate unhealthy immune responses that may lead to allergies, food intolerances, and skin and autoimmune diseases.


Our CM team treats various digestive disorders involving pathogenic organisms such as: Candida Albicans, Blastocyst Hominis, Cryptosperidian, Helicobactor Pylori, worms, amoebas, protozoa, pathogenic bacteria, fungal, viral, and yeast infections. Gut pathogens increase risk of reflux, constipation, pain and diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, heart burn, Crohn’s Disease, Coeliac Disease, allergies, food intolerances, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

If not diagnosed or properly treated, chronic gut pathogens may cause hormonal imbalance, menstrual irregularities, infertility, insomnia, malabsorption, fatigue, weight gain, weight loss, anxiety, depression, skin diseases, thyroid conditions, autoimmune disease, systemic inflammation, and liver damage.

If a gut pathogen is suspected, our CM team provides the following:

  • Recommendation for best evidence laboratory testing to exclude pathogenic gut parasite or bacteria,
  • CM support during and after antibiotic treatment,
  • Acupuncture and CM herbal treatment of parasite and bacterial infestation,
  • Discussion on best pre- and pro-biotic for gut recovery,
  • Nutrition and dietary guidance.


Practitioners of Chinese medicine have written many manuscripts and treatises on the diagnosis, recovery, and treatment of gut pathogens and, in particular, have a long history of treating both bacterial and parasitic infestations. Of note, in 2015, a Nobel prize in medicine was awarded to CM researcher Tu Youyou who showed good evidence for the clinical effectiveness of Artemisia annual (Qing huo) in treating malarial parasites. Reference to the herb was found in a 1,600 year old (400 AD) text.



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