"]There are an estimated 20 million Americans who suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), a condition also known as spastic colon, spastic colitis, nervous stomach, and functional bowel disease. If you have ever experienced about of diarrhea before a performance or major exam, or had loose stool during times of stress, then you have experienced what it's like to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There is also Lynn Jaffee, LAc, describes the symptoms of IBS on the Acufinder site:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is labeled a "syndrome" because is involves a group of symptoms that varies for each individual who is affected. It involves abnormal movement of the small and large intestines (which is often referred to as a motility disorder). Symptoms of IBS include abdominal cramping and pain, and constipation and/or diarrhea (often in alternating episodes). IBS may also be accompanied by other gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, bloating, and nausea, and the symptoms are almost always aggravated by stress. Episodes may also be aggravated by eating, and are frequently relieved after a bowel movement.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine work very well for for IBS symptoms. There are many techniques we can use to help with the symptoms of IBS, and with regular acupuncture treatments, some lifestyle changes, and an herbal formula made specifically for your constitution (body type), I have seen a lot of success and immense relief of symptoms in those suffering from IBS. Acupuncture is very good in reducing stress, which is a huge trigger for IBS symptoms. By reducing this stress and making changes towards better living, your chances of getting some relief from IBS improve greatly!

Here are a few simple tips to get you started:

-Be careful with food sensitivities and/or allergies. Gluten and dairy can cause a whole slew of gastrointestinal problems

-Avoid eating too many types of foods at one time (i.e. please don't eat an entire cake in one sitting....it will cause problems...)

-Steam vegetables rather that eating them raw

-Emphasize a high fiber diet, and include freshly ground flax seeds and whole grains as part of your daily carbohydrate intake

-All foods must be eaten slowly, chewed and salivated well (the enzymes in your saliva break down food)

-Eat in a calm and somewhat quiet atmosphere (no reading or watching television while eating)

Watch this video with Dr. Igor Schwartzman at WellWire.com. Dr. Schwartman demonstrates an easy way to calm your breathing, and offers additional information on some causes of IBS. He also recommends some beneficial herbs and teas that may also help with IBS symptoms, such as camomile and slippery elm.