with Functional Medicine, Acupuncture, and Chinese Herbs

Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders have been a long time interest of mine for around 23 years. I myself suffered severe symptoms in my early 20’s where almost everything I ate produced symptoms of brain fog, bloating, pain, fatigue, IBS-like symptoms etc. Now I can enjoy any foods, except gluten by choice, without problems.

Consequently, I have spent lots of energy understanding the intricacies of digestion and associated conditions such as SIBO, leaky gut (intestinal permeability), food sensitivities, parasites, malabsorption, hypochloridia, IBS, Crohn’s, candida, ulcerative colitis, GERD, etc. and have had the pleasure of working with 100s of clients since 2002 in my Boulder clinic.

Although these diagnoses are helpful there are inherent problems. We hope that if we correctly know the disease, there is a cure, albeit herbal or pharmaceutical, but it is much more complex. For example testing / diagnosis is quite murky still.

I have been dealing with digestive problems for years. I’ve seen many health care providers, including specialized medical doctors. Nothing so far has helped – in fact some of the Western medicine made the condition worse. Jason’s diagnosis from a Chinese perspective was spot on and tied in with other symptoms I had been experiencing. The acupuncture is extremely effective and the herbs he prescribed also make a big difference. After only two visits I feel much, much better.
five-star– Nicole B, Aug 6, 2013

  • The main SIBO test (Lactulose breath test) is only about 50% accurate and much more complex then it is being presented on the internet.
  • Parasites are hard to detect (even with modern DNA testing) and often smaller parasites that are detected with DNA testing do not directly cause the patient’s condition. Also see my article on Should I Do a Parasite Cleanse.
  • Most of the Food sensitivities testing is inaccurate.
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is just that, a syndrome (a conglomeration of symptoms). Thus, there is not a single cause. It is currently thought that around 50% of IBS is from SIBO. And SIBO has many causes, one of which is hypochloridia. In Chinese medicine it is also well understood that IBS is directly related to the Liver and emotions and stress.

Once we have a “working” diagnosis, treatment is also not as straightforward as many suggest.

  • SIBO (which has a wide-range of treatments based on the pattern).
  • A pathogen in one person will respond well to one medicinal where in another it does not.
  • Hypochloridia (low stomach acid) as at least 8 different causes. Actually all of these conditions above, except for some straight forward parasites, have underlying causes that must be investigated, which leads to an individual presentation and treatment.


For the correct treatment we must understand your (1) specific presentation  and (2) individual constitution. These help us understand the underlying cause and the complex relationships that often present in the clinic. For example hypochloridia can cause SIBO. Adrenal fatigue can cause the hypochloridia. Adrenal fatigue can be caused by chronic gut inflammation.

Thus, it is very important to NOT just treat the “test results;” they are always secondary.

(1) The presentation gives us clues to the specific pattern as well as the underlying cause. Presentation are the symptoms, such as:

    • Bloating
    • Distention
    • Location of bloating and distention (upper or lower abdomen)
    • Constipation (which type)
    • Diarrhea (which type)
    • Pain, cramps, spasms
    • Bad breath
    • Appetite
    • Nausea / vomitingFor example, a case of SIBO would be treated differently depending if there was bloating or distention and where that was located.

(2) I also consider the constitution of the patient. Such as, their body type, are they more warm or cold, how they hold their stress, etc.. I feel their pulse, look at their tongue, notice their facial color to get further diagnostic information. This aspect comes from the deep roots of Chinese medicine and can be extremely important in rounding out underlying causes of GI issues.

Thus the constitution, individual presentation, and diagnostic test results are all combined to come up with an individualized treatment. Thus, each individual has their own web of connections are why so many people, even after some “diagnosis” still struggle after following the internet “expert” advice and programs.

Further thoughts on treatment. Modern or Ancient?

Simply, Chinese medicine has a 2000+ year history of treating ALL of these above issues. For example, the presentation of IBS or SIBO are nothing new and we have time tested acupuncture and herbal therapies that can effectively treat this. Although many MDs are recommending the antibiotic rifaximin, it has high potential of collateral damage. Quite simply, there are more balanced and individualized approaches that work. Interestingly, modern research has validated clinical efficacy many of the oldest herbs used, such as coptis / berberine (huang lian), ginger (sheng jiang), and pomegranate husk (shi liu pi).

We can mix this ancient knowledge with modern research and interventions, such a specific probiotics and prebiotics. For example, there are specific probiotics that help symptoms SIBO or IBS. See my article on Probiotics.

In the end, I enjoy combining both Western (functional medicine) and Eastern knowledge (acupuncture and Chinese herbs) to heal the underlying cause of gastrointestinal disorders. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.


I had digestion problems and was diagnosed by a doctor as having H. Pylori bacteria in my system. That problem was treated with an intense dose of antibiotics that was painful and made me sick and disoriented. After the treatment I still had the bacteria. The doctor wanted to give a another mega treatment of antibiotics. I couldn’t go through that again. That is when I began treatment with Jason. Acupuncture and herbal tea and over the counter supplements that he recommended. I did this for two months. Then I had another test made for H. Pylori and the results were negative! Thank you Jason for your knowledge, treatment and helpful counseling. I am so grateful. – Sandra Papazian five-star Google (Dec. 2017)-

I am happy to say that I’ve been progressively getting better and really appreciate Jason’s knowledge of gut and other issues, as well as the tangible solutions he provides. After several years of seeking help, I finally feel like I’m heading in the right direction. I highly recommend Open Gate Acupuncture! – Mary Coffin five-star  Google (Nov. 2019)

My family has been seeing Jason for over a year and we are very thankful for his attentive care. His intuitive abilities to diagnose coupled with the approach of a functional medicine practitioner were very helpful in dealing with intestinal problems, obgyn concerns, getting rid off HPV and H. Pylori, back issues and sleeping problems. As a medical practitioner myself, I highly recommended Jason to my patients, family and friends. Thank you for all you do! – Alesia Bergan five-star Google (1/10/2019)

I was told by my doctor that I would need to have my Gallbladder taken out. I went to see Jason and he prescribed some herbs and did some acupuncture. I have not had my Gallbladder taken out and it has been about three years now. I have not had any problems with my Gall Bladder either. I was very pleased with the results. – Errol Wuertz five-star Google 2014.

I came to see Jason for several reasons; digestive issues and shoulder surgery. He was very professional, listens well, and is keenly interested in helping people feel better. I greatly benefitted from his care. Stephanie Wallace five-star  Google, 2014.

Jason has a mastery of acupuncture that places him at the top of his profession. He listens to my health concerns and applies his prowess. He has helped me with ongoing digestive concerns as well as numerous aches and pains due to repetitive motions. He is thorough and consistent in his gathering of information and implementation of the appropriate method of treatment. – Melanie five-star Apr 9, 2014

I’ve had migraines for about 50 years, usually about once a week. I have tried many treatments but always treating the symptoms. Jason did a great sleuthing job with a variety of symptoms to zero in on the probable root problem. The first acupuncture treatment made a noticeable difference and I am looking forward with hope to continuing treatment. The root problem also explains my IBS symptoms of about 40 years so hope for that condition is a bonus. – Hassan Gebel five-star Apr 3, 2014.

I have been enjoying Jason’s care for about 2 years. It has always been done on a very professional and educational level. I am on the path to unravel digestion problems that went for many years without the proper treatment from traditional medicine. He always listens carefully and also does a lot of research to address specific issues. Just a wonderful person and easy to talk to. – I.P., five-star Sep 23, 2011

I saw Jason for a very rare skin disease that caused inflammation throughout my entire body. Jason’s knowledge of the body, how it works and his deep understanding of Chinese medicinal herbs that can heal, support and strengthen the body helped me get to remission much faster than many individuals that are afflicted with the disease. Jason was also able to address g.i. issues that have plagued me for years. I feel fortunate to have been under his care. Erin M. five-starGoogle, 2014.

Contact Us

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt