Acupuncture for functional gastrointestinal disorders

Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA.
Journal of Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 4.52). 06/2006; 41(5):408-17. DOI: 10.1007/s00535-006-1773-6
Source: PubMed


Functional gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are common in the general population. Especially, motor dysfunction of the GI tract and visceral hypersensitivity are important. Acupuncture has been used to treat GI symptoms in China for thousands of years. It is conceivable that acupuncture may be effective in patients with functional GI disorders because it has been shown to alter acid secretion, GI motility, and visceral pain. Acupuncture at the lower limbs (ST-36) causes muscle contractions via the somatoparasympathetic pathway, while at the upper abdomen (CV-12) it causes muscle relaxation via the somatosympathetic pathway. In some patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and functional dyspepsia (FD), peristalsis and gastric motility are impaired. The stimulatory effects of acupuncture at ST-36 on GI motility may be beneficial to patients with GERD or FD, as well as to those with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), who show delayed colonic transit. In contrast, the inhibitory effects of acupuncture at CV-12 on GI motility may be beneficial to patients with diarrhea-predominant IBS, because enhanced colonic motility and accelerated colonic transit are reported in such patients. Acupuncture at CV-12 may inhibit gastric acid secretion via the somatosympathetic pathway. Thus, acupuncture may be beneficial to GERD patients. The antiemetic effects of acupuncture at PC-6 (wrist) may be beneficial to patients with FD, whereas the antinociceptive effects of acupuncture at PC-6 and ST-36 may be beneficial to patients with visceral hypersensitivity. In the future, it is expected that acupuncture will be used in the treatment of patients with functional GI disorders.

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    • "Thus, treatment in TCM including acupuncture should aim to facilitate qi and blood circulation in meridians related to these organs and thus normalizes patient's status of health. With the guidance of these diagnostic and therapeutic principles, therapeutic effectiveness of acupuncture for abdominal pain, abdominal distension, bloating, nausea, and others was well documented in various TCM classics and has been reported in research studies [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]. Besides normalization of qi and blood in the affected meridians, modern understandings of these results also lie in pathophysiological research studies, in which researchers found that acupuncture in patients with FD could accelerate solid gastric emptying [17], increase plasma level of neuropeptide Y but not motilin [18], and induce deactivation of the brainstem, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), insula, thalamus, and hypothalamus in the human body [21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In order to investigate the therapeutic potential of acupuncture on patients with functional dyspepsia (FD), patients were randomized to receive acupuncture at classic acupoints with manipulations (treatment group) versus acupuncture at nonacupoints without manipulation (control group) once every other day, three times a week, for one month and were followed up for three months. The primary outcomes included dyspeptic symptoms, quality of life, and mental status. The secondary outcomes included the fasting serum gastrin concentration, and frequency and propagation velocity of gastric slow waves. Sixty patients with FD were included, among whom, four dropped out. After one month's treatment, patients with FD showed significant improvements in primary (in both groups) and secondary (in the eight patients of the treatment group) outcomes as compared with baseline ( P = 0.0078 to
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    • "Acupuncture, an important traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapy, has been used to treat gastrointestinal symptoms for centuries in China. Now it has been increasingly accepted as a complementary and alternative treatment for functional gastrointestinal disorders in western countries [7] [8]. ST25 (Tianshu), an important acupoint in the stomach meridian of the Foot Yangming, is commonly used to treat intestinal illnesses, such as constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Acupuncture is a commonly used therapy for treating functional diarrhea (FD), although there is limited knowledge on the mechanism. The objectives of this study were to investigate the differences in brain activities elicited by acupuncture between FD patients and healthy controls (HC) so as to explore the possible mechanism. Eighteen FD patients and eighteen HC received 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment at ST25 acupoints. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans were, respectively, performed before and after acupuncture. The defecation frequency, Bristol stool form scale (SBFS), and MOS 36-item Short Healthy Survey (SF-36) were employed to evaluate the clinical efficacy. After acupuncture, the FD patients showed a significant decrease in defecation frequency and BSFS score. The regional homogeneity (ReHo) map showed a decrease in the paracentral lobule and postcentral gyrus, and an increase in the angular gyrus, insula, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and precuneus in the FD group. Moreover, the changes in ReHo values in the ACC were correlated with the reduction in defecation frequency. Decreasing functional connectivity among the ACC, insula, thalamus, and orbital frontal cortex only existed in the FD group. Conclusively, acupuncture alleviated defecation frequency and improved stool formation in FD patients. The efficacy might result from the regulation of the homeostasis afferent processing network.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    • "In the current study, both low- and high-frequency EAS were capable of improving structural parameters, but functional improvement was only seen after high-frequency EAS, suggesting that the high-frequency EAS may be better to treat the colonic motility disorders. There are studies that have suggested a therapeutic potential of acupuncture for functional constipation [25]. A clinical study has showed that acupuncture can significantly increase the frequency of bowel movements in constipated children [26]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Injury of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) is associated with gut dysmotility in diabetic rats. We have shown an acceleration of the colonic contractility by electroacupuncture stimulation (EAS). However, little is known about potential roles of EAS on colonic transit and ICC. In this study, we evaluate the effect of EAS on colonic transit and investigate whether apoptosis/proliferation of ICC was involved in regulative effect of EAS on colonic transit. Rats were randomly assigned to normal, diabetic, diabetic-plus-sham stimulation, diabetic-plus-low-frequency stimulation, and diabetic-plus-high-frequency stimulation groups. Bead expulsion test was used for measuring the distal colonic transit. The Kit (ICC marker) was detected by western blot. Apoptotic ICC was detected by terminal dUTP nucleotide end labeling. Proliferating ICC was identified by Kit/Ki67 double immunofluorescent staining on whole mount preparations. Ultrastructure changes of ICC were studied using electron microscopy. Results showed that high-frequency stimulation significantly promoted colonic transit. Low- and high-frequency stimulation markedly rescued intramuscular ICC from apoptosis. Abundant proliferating intramuscular ICC was found in low- and high-frequency stimulation groups. Our results indicate that high-frequency EAS has stimulatory effect on the distal colonic transit, which may be mediated by downregulation of the apoptosis and upregulation of the proliferation of intramuscular ICC.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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