I have chronic digestive problems such as acid reflux, poor appetite, constipation or fullness and distention on the lower abdomen. How do I take care of myself at home after an acupuncture visit?

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the digestive system equates to “spleen and stomach”. Chronic digestive problems are due to deficiency of the spleen and stomach. It got worse after catching cold, after eating cold food or indigestible food, or due to the conditions of eating egg overeating, eating late and worrying whilst eating, or drinking alcohol, emotional problems.

To support the treatment at home, the patients must take care when eating food: 1) eat warm, cooked food, easily digestible food, not too many drinks with ice. 2) Small, frequent meal, eat on time. 3) Drink ginger tea or ginger soup (See below) after catching cold.

The patients should do some traditional Chinese exercises or mediation, like Qi Gong and Tai Ji Quan. One way that patients can practice anywhere, home, office or outside: 1) Standing position with the feet apart, body is relaxed and the mind is quieted, then regulate breathing to be even; 2) Slowly lift both arms up in front of the head with palms up; 3) Slowly push arms down with palms turned down and knees bent, lower the upper body; 4) Then slowly lift arms up with palms turned up and straighten the upper body; 5) Return to step 2. 6) Follow the above process to regulate breathing, exhale while slowly lifting the arms up in front of head and inhale while slowly pushing palms down; 7) Repeats again the steps for about 5 minutes.

Self massage on abdomen: 1) Lay on your back on bed or sit on chair with relaxed belt, then body is relaxed and the mind is quieted; 2) Put a thin towel on the abdomen; 3) Using one palm rub in circle about 100 times per minute for about 3 minutes. Apply gentle and mild force and keep motion steady and moderate. 4) Put palm on the towel then kneading for about 3 minutes. The Kneading frequency is kept about 100 times per minute. 5) Grasp muscle on abdomen, lift then relax repeating this motion five times per minute for 2 minutes. 6) With hands on top of each other knead on abdominal muscle in a circular motion 30 times per minute for 3 minutes. If you have constipation rub clock wise, if loose stools or diarrhea rub counter clock wise. After doing these exercises you should feel warmth on the abdomen.

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