The case for an emotional cause behind Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is a debilitating condition of long term pain and pressure in the bladder with accompanied urgency and or frequency, usually with a history of bladder problems and infections. Its mysterious and defies conventional treatment.

The main purpose of this website/blog is to provide information from a Chinese medical perspective. As I suggest in the title of this blog Interstitial cystitis has an unusual patho-physiology.

Until about ten years ago IC treatment with me concentrated on the bladder system with mediocre results if I’m honest. One day I received a new patient whom i diagnosed with heart Qi deficiency, despite this finding I continued building the bladder Qi, over 3 or 4 sessions, she received no benefit what so ever. Undeterred, I decided to rebuild the Qi of the heart even though an obvious connection to the symptoms was missing, from this point the patient started to recover and fully recovered after 7 or 8 sessions. Since this learning experience for me, I have seen many IC patients and all of them have the same heart Qi deficiency. How can this be?

Heart Qi

The place from which human beings derive their happiness is the heart, not so much the beating heart organ, but more the energy which exists in the chest, indeed the electro-magnetic forces of the human body are stronger in the heart than in the brain. Emotional shocks such as bereavement or a redundancy can harm the heart, long term relationship issues or stress can do the same.

Why does it effect the bladder?

In classical Chinese medicine there are many reciprocal relationships between the organs in the body, one such strong and important relationship is between the heart and the bladder. With Interstitial cystitis it is appropriate to say the weak heart Qi is the cause and the bladder Qi is the expression (of the symptoms). I believe this is the reason IC treatment currently eludes the establishment and why it doesn’t respond well to medicines like antibiotics as the emotions are never addressed. Think of it like a see-saw balance, if the heart Qi is in decline from difficulties in life, the net effect of this is more activity in the opposite organ channel, ie the bladder, sooner or later this excessive Qi in the bladder stagnates and effects the organ. When energy stagnates the chief symptom is pain, but long term stagnation in an organ will also cause loss of function.

How can acupuncture treat IC?

The art is to find acupuncture points that will have a nourishing effect on the heart and a harmonising effect on the bladder at the same time. Building the heart will galvanise resilience, as we can not stop what life throws at us the important part is to temper our reactions to what occurs, if the Qi is abundant so one is able to react proportionally to the things that happen. Thus bringing the symptoms under control becomes a real possibility.