Electro-acupuncture can alleviate severe constipation according to a new report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
A team of scientists at the China Academy of Chinese Medicine Sciences sought to examine the effects of electro-acupuncture on those who experience severe constipation. That includes people who have less than two full bowel evacuations a week, suffer hard stools, and incomplete evacuations.
1075 participants across 15 medical centers in China took part in the study. They were random split into two groups: those who received electro-acupuncture and those who received sham acupuncture. The first group had needles inserted into specific acupoints on their abdomen by an acupuncturist, with a low voltage current run through it for 30 minutes. The control group were needled at nonspecific points with no current.
Over the course of eight weeks participants received 28 sessions. 31.3 %of people in the treatment group showed improvement (measured by three or more bowel movements per week without the need for laxatives). The control group (who received sham acupuncture) reported a 12.1 percent improvement. In the weeks to follow, 37.7 % of the treatment group commented that they experienced a similar level of improvement, whereas the control group said they had a 14.1 % improvement.
The main reason people seek out acupuncture is for the treatment of pain – so further studies in this medical arena prove that it is also highly effective for other complaints. While this research indicates the gastrointestinal system is a prime candidate for further TCM advances, the lead author Dr. Marie Jia Liu says “we do not suggest it as a first-line treatment. The people in this study had severe constipation.” Here at the clinic we would encourage the use of herbal formulas to alleviate an impacted bowel, in conjunction with regular acupuncture sessions.
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