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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Johnson

TCM for Autoimmune Disease Treatment

Are you living with an autoimmune disease? You're not alone: roughly 50 million Americans--most of them women--suffer from these disorders. Prevention of them isn’t always possible, since causes of autoimmune disorders varies...and currently available treatment options can lead sufferers hoping for more accessible and effective solutions.

Autoimmune disorders pose daily physical and emotional challenges, sometimes to the point of disability. The spectrum of autoimmune disorders range from mild to severe, examples including allergies, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and lupus. If you’re like most people with an autoimmune disorder, there is a chance that you suffered for years before getting a diagnosis. Typically, once a person receives a diagnosis, they will start on a course of prescription medication, but they will often find that they're still not quite feeling like themselves. Autoimmune disorders are complex and, in turn, require a more complex solution than conventional medicine provides. Taking medication to suppress the immune system will only temporarily relieve symptoms--and not do much to solve or reduce the overarching issue. That's why people with autoimmune diseases have started looking for other options!

A number of studies have shown us that acupuncture causes positive physiological changes in the body within the nervous system, the immune system, the brain, circulation, and it can help reduce inflammation (which is especially important with autoimmune disorders!). Acupuncture provides much-needed pail relief, can help a person manage symptoms, and improve quality of life overall.

In addition to pain relief, acupuncture is known to balance the immune system. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the immune system is a protective shield for the body. The body receives fuel from stored energy, so if you're feeling stressed or run down, your immune system can become weak, and for autoimmune sufferers, that often mean an inevitable flare up is around the corner.

Adding an Elimination Diet

One of the first steps in dealing with most autoimmune disease is to try and identify dietary triggers. Whether there is a genetic component as in lupus, an infectious trigger like in multiple sclerosis, or an intestinal onset, many autoimmune flares can be triggered by the combination of food sensitivities and leaky gut. Once intestinal “good bacteria” are cut down by antibiotics or lifestyle, the tight junctions in the gut wall can break down and proteins that are not supposed to get into the body leak through and cause chaos within.

The best way to find out what you are sensitive to is to go on an elimination diet for a month or two, then slowly add back potential allergens one at a time, waiting a week each time to see if you have bloating, pain or fuzzy thinking in response. That's a lot of work and a lot to ask, but in the end, it's absolutely worth it!

Gluten, in particular, has the ability to trigger zonulin--which opens up intestinal walls, but dairy, soy, citrus, and even nightshades like tomatoes and potatoes can also trigger flares. There is a wide range of foods that could be causing your immune system discomfort, so that's why evaluating and eliminating what might be affecting you is incredibly important.

Whether you opt to try an elimination diet or not, here are a few helpful tips to consider when implementing nutrition therapy to help manage an autoimmune disorder:

  • Treat your gut bacteria with food and probiotics to heal any leaking

  • Food with some fat helps protect the good bacteria down their acid ride through the stomach

  • Try a variety of plain full-fat yogurts and kefir, miso, olives, blue cheese, sauerkraut and kimchi

  • If you use probiotic supplements look for a variety of strains --try and mix things up a bit!

If you are suffering from an autoimmune disorder, consider Traditional Chinese Medicine. By using a holistic approach, I can help relieve many symptoms and get you on the road to fixing the imbalances that allowed the autoimmunity to develop in the first place. Contact Everybody Healing Center today to manage your autoimmune disorder and begin living life fully again!

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