Acupuncture and Functional Testing – Part 1 Digestive Health

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As I discussed in my previous post ‘Nutrition and Acupuncture – A Powerful Team!’ I enjoy working in collaboration with Sally Duffin, a Nutritional Therapist based in York. As part of her service she offers various functional tests to help clients discover the underlying causes of their health conditions.

These tests include:

Gut health tests: stool tests are helpful for examining the range and types of gut bacteria and whether overgrowth of ‘unfriendly’ microbes is contributing to symptoms.

  • Thyroid tests
  • Adrenal function tests
  • Hormone balance tests

Digestion is one of my key areas of specialist interest and I see many clients suffering with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pains, excessive wind and uncomfortable bloating. These symptoms are usually caused by a combination of stress, poor food choices and imbalanced gut bacteria (dysbiosis).

Within your digestive tract there are millions of bacteria and yeasts – some friendly, some not so friendly! When we are in good health the friendly microbes keep the less friendly ones in check and stop them overgrowing. During times of stress, ill health or when taking antibiotics the environment within your digestive tract changes, giving the unfriendly microbes the opportunity to thrive and proliferate – and cause many unpleasant symptoms as a result.

Research is now showing strong links between the balance of gut microbes and wider health conditions such as auto-immunity, inflammatory conditions, depression, and hormone imbalances too. These microbes control so much of our health!

What will a stool test reveal?

A stool test offers a comprehensive view of gastrointestinal health. There are several types of stool test to choose from, they focus on:

The balance of beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria
Yeast overgrowth: Candida is a well known yeast, and there are other yeasts with the potential to thrive and cause problems too. In some cases there may be oral Candida overgrowth whilst levels in the gut are normal.
Bacterial metabolites that can indicate the presence of gut inflammation and increased permeability.
Parasite infections.
Once we have a clearer picture of exactly what is happening in the gut it becomes easier to direct the acupuncture and nutritional support. For example if a yeast overgrowth is present foods, nutritional supplements and acupuncture can be directed towards reducing levels of yeast and supporting your liver and bowels in detoxifying and removing the excess yeast from your system.

Can’t I just go to my GP for these tests?

Stool tests are available on the NHS but they only look for harmful, pathogenic bacteria and do not include beneficial gut bacteria. Sally has seen many clients who do not have any infective bacteria or high levels of unfriendly microbes and would therefore be classed as ‘normal’ by the NHS. What they did have was very low levels of friendly bacteria which had led to dysbiosis and as a result, symptoms of IBS. The functional tests we can offer are designed to support your optimum health and wellbeing and are therefore much broader in scope.
Next, we will look at thyroid and adrenal testing…

Is IBS preventing you from enjoying life to the full?

Have you been told there is nothing wrong with your digestion and you ‘just have to live with it’?

Regain digestive comfort and your zest for life! Contact Tiziana on 07788 633292 or email at TODAY!


Have more questions about how Traditional Acupuncture can help you? Simply contact Tiziana Bertinotti on 07788 633292 or

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