Have you ever awakened with a headache for no reason at all? Do you have dark circles under your eyes or ringing in your ears? Do you suffer from bursitis or carpal tunnel syndrome?  Do you enjoy eating popcorn, nuts, and seeds? If so you could be suffering from ileocecal valve syndrome (ICV).

The ileocecal valve is a sphincter located between the ileum (the last portion of your small intestine) and the cecum (first portion of your large intestine). Its purpose is to allow digested food materials to pass from the small intestine into your large intestine and to keep waste matters from backing up into your small intestine. It is intended to be a one-way valve, only opening up to allow processed foods to pass through.

In Applied Kinesiology (AK) ICV syndrome is known as the “great mimicker” because of the amount of symptoms that are caused by its dysfunction.  Ileocecal valve dysfunction can show in two ways: by being stuck in an open position or being stuck in a closed position.

When the ileocecal valve is stuck open, waste products can back up into the small intestine (much like a backed-up kitchen sink drain) disturbing your digestion and creating unhealthy toxins that are absorbed into the body. If the ileocecal valve is stuck closed, waste products are prevented or constricted from passing into the large intestine.  Unfortunately, the medical profession often overlooks this disorder. Ileocecal valve dysfunction can result in a myriad of symptoms, including:

Shoulder pain

Sudden low back pain

Pain around the heart


Flu symptoms

Pseudo bursitis

Pseudo sacroiliac strain




Pseudo sinus infection

Pseudo hypochlorhydria


Sudden thirst


Dark circles under the eyes

Bowel involvement

In AK theory, it is believed that many symptoms of ileocecal valve dysfunction occur as a result of absorption of toxic products by the ileum that have been regurgitated from the colon. In an open ICV, a combination of dehydration and fluid retention may exist. Fluid retention is the body’s natural method of attempting to reduce the effects of the toxicity by diluting the toxins with water. A major complaint of a patient may be peripheral nerve entrapment, such as the carpal tunnel condition. I personally have successfully treated many patients with carpal tunnel syndrome simply by addressing ileocecal valve syndrome.

What causes ICV? The most common causes of ICV are diet, allergies, parasites, and stress. As an applied kinesiologist, I look at the patient’s structural, chemical, and emotional states and address each one accordingly. Treatment usually includes spinal manipulation, acupressure to specific points related to ICV, and a low-roughage diet for two weeks.  Ileocecal Valve Syndrome Diet is a low roughage diet.  Foods most likely to irritate the ICV are: coarse cereals, chips, popcorn, nuts, seeds, spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol. In the case of an open ICV, I will often have the patient take chlorophyll tablets to help soothe and heal the bowel. For a closed ICV, often a calcium supplement is needed for a couple of weeks.  For ileocecal valve treatment, place a cold (not ice) pack over the cecum, which is on the lower right side of your abdomen where your appendix is.  Allow the pack to slowly come to room temperature.

I have often said that if I could do but one technique in my office, it would be ICV treatment.  It is surprising how many symptoms can be alleviated by restoring function to a dysfunctional ileocecal valve.  I recommend finding an Applied Kinesiologist in your area who can evaluate you to ensure that this important valve is operating properly.

If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment below or share it with your friends.

    15 replies to "Have You Got ICV?"

    • Thomas Lierzer

      Thanks for the great article. It was extremely helpful for me. Luckily I can say that I do not have any of those symptoms and I have one less thing to worry about.

      Thanks again,
      Thomas Lierzer

    • Kevin Martineau

      Hi Dr. Weeks:

      Wow! Very informative article. I can relate to these symptoms. I am going to have to get this checked out.

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

    • Steven Dean

      I think I have a clean bill of health at the moment. But then again who knows. Been a while since I’ve checked in. But who knows I may come across an article of yours that might have my name written all over it. Just hope it isn’t the worst of the worst. Thanks for sharing this. Its always nice to hear about such things especially when it is health related.I have hardly any medical expertise and I’m in the grey area of this. But I learn a little as I go and thanks to you Dr. Shannon.

      Steven Dean

    • Nicole Rushin

      I have never even heard of this before and I am also not sure what Bowel Involvement is. I guess I could Google it. I use to have a lot of dizzy spells years ago. Maybe this was part of it.

      A good applied Kinesiologist would be great to have. Is there a good on-line resource for finding reputable ones? They use to tell us to do muscle testing for the products in the wellness company I sell for, but I never felt like I was qualified to do it. I do think it involves good training to do it correctly.

      • Dr. Shannon Weeks

        Dear Nicole,

        You can go to http://www.icakusa.com to search for an AK doc in your area. It does take years of practice to master muscle testing, but as a physician I find it an invaluable tool.

    • Maggie Lancy

      Great information!
      You have to take of your body and be aware. You have only one!
      Thanks for sharing

    • WOW, a lot of those symtoms are mine.

      I will check with my chiropractor see if he knows a good Kinesiologist in our area.

      I love it when things can be remedied without drugs or surgery.


      ~ Carla

    • Willena Flewelling

      I had never heard of the ileocecal valve until I started seeing a Certified Kinesionics Practitioner. He has all of his clients massage the area “whether they need it or not”, maintaining that almost everyone does need it. Kinesionics is not quite the same as kinesiology, but it incorporates the muscle testing with a number of other techniques. My daughter is also a CKP.

      Willena Flewelling

    • Joyce Edwards

      Hi Dr. Weeks,
      Interesteding about this valve and others in our bodies that the medical community seems to never pay any attention to.

      I may personally suffer from this and totally forgot about using chlorophyll to help with the inflammation. You have some great information that is easy to understand. Will be coming back to your posts!


    • What are the treatment options?

      • Dr. Shannon Weeks

        Dear Pam,

        Treatment involves a combination of a low roughage diet for a couple weeks along with specific spinal adjustments, acupressure and stimulation of specific neuro- lymphatic points, all which help restore proper function to the ICV.

    • Interesting article, Dr. Weeks! It’s great to get addressed with this kind of information… Being able to lead some symptoms back these topic might evaluate if just taking a pill for headache is good or not… Thx again for this advice. Alex

    • Jane

      Such good info!
      After dealing with described symptoms and more ie:inner knee
      pain, ankle pain, foot pain I read about the IC valve.
      With ab massage and eating carefully with the addition of algae 80% of pain and misery gone.
      Most importantly, I had not realized how irritable and hopeless I was becoming.
      Thank you.

    • Sandra Watson

      when you say lower the rouphage what do you mean

      • Dr. Shannon Weeks

        Remove foods such as popcorn, chips, nuts, seeds, spicy food, caffeine, alcohol and chocolate for at least 2 weeks.

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