For the past 15 years in my practice, I have seen so many chronic disorders which are caused by long standing emotional stress or emotional trauma. The case I chose to share with you today is about a young man with Ulcerative Colitis and warning, his story is quite traumatic…

At the end of it below, I created a chart on the Basic TCM Treatment Protocols for Ulcerative Colitis, and one for UC diet. I hope you find them useful.

Keep rocking it using TCM & keep healing the world one patient at a time!
TCM Geek


  • Male, age: 25 yrs old

  • Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 7 years ago.

  • Chief Complaint: Chronic frequent diarrhea with mucus & pus in the stools. The attacks occur when he’s stressed and can last for days, with extreme urgency, he sometimes can’t make it to a bathroom and soils his pants. He get cold after diarrhea and hot before.

    After a 2 weeks of treatment, the patient revealed he was sexually assaulted by 4 boys from his high school when he was 17, following years of bullying. There was physical tear of the anal area. The patient told his parents, but they didn’t believe him, and it was swept under the rug. The bowel issues started shortly after the assault.
    He has been given Steroids over the years, but he hates them and their side effects, so he’s looking for a better way to heal the lining of his colon.  

  • He lives alone. He’s obsessed about exercise, and works out daily for 3 hours.

  • His main emotions are strong anger for his parents, and with the world. He’s frustrated because his career is not going where he wants it. He’s anxious about his Colitis attacks, and worries about it all the time. He has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder mainly washing his hands constantly.

  • He can go days without eating when he has a Colitis attack, and when he feels better, he drinks coffee, hard liquor, and eats mostly pizza and fast foods.

  • He goes to bed around 2 am and sleeps for 7 hours. His energy is up & down, depending on his Colitis. He has chronic low back pain which he manages with stretching, chiropractic adjustments and heating pad.

  • Pulse: wiry (left middle position),  slippery (middle right position), weak at the rear positions.

  • Tongue: Red sides, greasy coat at the centre & back.


TCM Diagnosis: LV Qi Stagnation (with LV Yang rising), which overact on SP, creating Sp Qi deficiency with Dampness. Kd Qi deficiency.

Causes: Emotional & Physical trauma creating shock depleting the TCM Kidneys, and creating emotional stress with Anger (LV) and worry (SP). Fear and anxiety also affect the KD & HT. Secondary cause: diet.

Symptoms differentiation:

  • Chronic frequent diarrhea with mucus & pus in the stools worse on stress (LV overact on SP with dampness).

  • Irregular diet of no food, to fast foods depletes SP & creates Dampness.

  • Cold after diarrhea (SP Qi def. towards Yang def.), hot before (LV heat).

  • Goes to sleep at 2 am (LV time).

  • Anger & frustration: LV Qi stagnation leading to Lv Yang rising.
    OCD: Lv overact on Sp.

  • Chronic low back pain better on warmth: Kd Qi def. towards Kd Yang def.

  • Pulse: wiry (left middle position): LV Qi Stagnation. Weak (rear positions): Kd Def. and Slippery (middle right): Dampness in the Sp.

  • Tongue: Red sides (Lv Yang rising), greasy coat at centre & back (damp in middle & lower Jiao).

Tx principles: soothe LV Qi, bring LV Yang down, calm the mind, eliminate dampness, tonify Sp Qi, relieve diarrhea. Protect the TCM Kidneys.

Acupuncture points

  • LV 2 bring LV Yang down.

  • Ear Shen Men, Yin Tang to Calm the mind.

  • Li 4 & Lv 3 to move LV Qi.

  • St 25, Ren 6, Ren 9 to regulate the large intestines.

  • Sp 9 & Gb 34 to eliminate Damp in the middle Jiao

  • Sp 3 to tonify Sp transportation & transformation function.

  • Sp 6 to balance Lv, Kd & Sp and calm the mind.

  • 21 needles twice/week for 3 weeks, followed by weekly sessions for another 11 weeks. I made some adjustments along the way depending on his stress level and the progress of the disorder.

Diet: with Ulcerative Colitis, a change in diet is crucial to heal the lining of the intestines and the ulcers.

  • He stopped coffee, alcohol & all carbonated drinks. I also recommended No dairy (creates damp), no junk foods, no sugar (too damp), but also no hard to digest foods such as popcorn (too hard on the Sp), nuts & seeds (which can irritate the lining or get stuck in the villi of the colon) or wild rice. He also cut out red meat.

  • I told him he needed to eat soft & easy to digest foods, such as avocado, mashed sweet potato, mashed cauliflower, wild fish, broth, soups and stews, lost of cruciferous veggies cooked, and drink pomegranate and/or purple cabbage juice (which heal ulcers) daily at room temperature. No cold drinks or foods. Basically healing the TCM Spleen!

I believe the acupuncture was instrumental in keeping the stress at bay and calming the mind, and the change in diet helped heal the intestines. Within less than 3 months, he was doing well, with normal stools, 2 bowel movements daily, no discomfort, no urgency. His anxiety decreased and he looked happier. He still has anger (but less often) and even though I recommended he talks to a counsellor, he said he’s not ready for that. I now treat him a few times/year when his low back needs some tuning 🙂

Basic TCM Treatment Protocols for Ulcerative Colitis



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