Acupuncture for Digestive Health & Bowel Diseases

Acupuncture for Digestive Health & Bowel Diseases.

There are many types, patterns and causes of gastrointestinal symptoms. Common symptoms include stomach ulcers and acid reflux, bloating, hernias, diarrhoea and constipation as well as food intolerances.

Abdominal pain is one of the most frequent reasons for visiting a doctor or emergency department. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes abdominal pain, bloating and alternating constipation and diarrhoea. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases which cause symptoms such as diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Regular colonoscopy screening from the age of 50 years is the best way to detect and prevent bowel cancer.

Is Acupuncture Effective for Digestive Health & Bowel Diseases?

Don't just take our word for it. The following clinical trials have scientifically examined the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for digestive health & bowel diseases.

Only reputable papers recently published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years are listed below.



Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Efficacy and Safety of Acupuncture at Tianshu (ST25) for Functional Constipation: Evidence from 10 Randomized Controlled Trials
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The meta-analysis demonstrates that acupuncture relief frequency of bowel movements, decreased painful evacuation and abdominal pain for Functional Constipation (FC). It also showcase improvement in long-term effect of defecation as compared to short-term effects with patients.

2020, Nov 6 • Li P, Luo Y, Wang Q, Shu S, Chen K, Yu D, Fan C. Full Article

Neural Plasticity
Acupuncture for Adults with Diarrhea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Functional Diarrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Neural Plasticity

Acupuncture treatment can improve the clinical effectiveness of IBS-D or FD, with great safety. It significantly reduces the pain levels, inflammations, and decreases the recurrence rate. It also reported that 60% of patients have stopped taking the medication due to improvements in symptoms. It has overall improved the quality of life for IBS patients.

2020, Nov 23 • Jianbo Guo, Xiaoxiao Xing, Jiani Wu, Hui Zhang, Yongen Yun, Zongshi Qin, and Qingyong He Full Article

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The Effectiveness of Acupuncture in Management of Functional Constipation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This systematic review suggests that acupuncture for FC is safe and effective. It is reduced stool frequency and improved constipation symptoms and stool formation. It also showed that acupuncture may be more effective than pharmacological treatment. Therefore, it has less side effects and improving overall quality of life.

2020, Jul • Wang, Lu; Xu, Mingmin; Zheng, Qianhua; Zhang, Wei; Li, Ying. Full Article

Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Effect of Acupuncture for Postprandial Distress Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

This clinical trial showed that Postpradial Distress Syndrome (PDS) showed improvement with acupuncture. Patients faced less upper abdominal bloating and early satiety after 4 weeks of treatment. Overall digestion and mental health were also improved.

2020, May 12 • Yang JW, Wang LQ, Zou X, Yan SY, Wang Y, Zhao JJ, Tu JF, Wang J, Shi GX, Hu H, Zhou W, Du Y, Liu CZ. Full Article

Pain Research & Management
Comparison between the Effects of Acupuncture Relative to Other Controls on Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis
Pain Research & Management

This meta-analysis research collectively showed that acupuncture has a higher efficacy rate when combined with western medicine. Patients showed improved long term clinical symptoms such as abdominal pain and altered defecation habits, thus and overall greater quality of life.

2019, Nov 11 • Zheng H, Chen R, Zhao X, Li G, Liang Y, Zhang H, Chi Z Full Article

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Acupuncture in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

This review have showed effectiveness of acupuncture in IBD with history and methodology of acupuncture. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, impaired gastrointestinal tract , depression/anxiety, and hypersensitivity have significantly improved. Patients also reported a better overall quality of life of patients.

2018, Dec 11 • Gengqing Song, MD, Claudio Fiocchi, MD, Jean-Paul Achkar, MD Full Article

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Acupuncture for Diarrhoea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Network Meta-Analysis
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This meta analysis and systematic review article showed that acupuncture improve diarrhoea symptoms with IBS. Patients experienced less diarrhoea, abdominal hypersensitivity and side effects from Western medication (e.g. gastrointestinal disorder inflammatory drugs)

2018, May 27 • Zhu L, Ma Y, Ye S, Shu Z Full Article

Acupuncture in Medicine
Acupuncture for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Acupuncture in Medicine British Medical Acupuncture Society

This journal study suggests that acupuncture improve recurrence rates compared with Western Medicine (WM) when used alone. Acupuncture lead to greater overall improvement when used as an adjunct to WM in patients with GORD. They may also have a positive impact on quality of life.

2017, Oct • Zhu, J., Guo, Y., Liu, S., Su, X., Li, Y., Yang, Y., Hou, L., Wang, G., Zhang, J., Chen, J. J. D., Wang, Q., Wei, R., & Wei, W. Full Article

World Journal of Gastroenterology
Acupuncture and regulation of gastrointestinal function
World Journal of Gastroenterology

In this review, we discuss the regulation on gastrointestinal (GI) function through acupuncture from the perspectives of GI motility, the GI barrier, visceral sensitivity, and the brain-gut axis. The results of studies in both humans and animals suggest that acupuncture has the potential to treat GI disorders by regulating GI motility, the GI barrier, visceral sensitivity, and the brain-gut axis. In addition, the dual regulatory effects and the intensity-dependent nature of acupuncture on GI motility are discussed.

2015, Jul 21 • Li H, He T, Xu Q, Li Z, Liu Y, Li F, Yang BF, Liu CZ. Full Article


Acupuncture points
Acupuncture is comparable with morphine preparations in its effectiveness against chronic pain, but without the adverse effects of morphine, such as dependency. Acupuncture : review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials
World Health Organization, Geneva 2002