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Acupuncture for
Gastrointestinal Disorders

Healing the Gut: Acupuncture for Digestive Disorders

Elias Lu, DTCM,

Acupuncture Physician

Point of Cure Acupuncture and Electromedicine in Tampa Bay, Florida

  • Gastrointestinal diseases affect millions of people worldwide
  • Acupuncture may be effective for many GI issues
  • Acupuncture has been shown to reduce visceral hypersensitivity, decrease mucosal inflammation, regulate the brain-intestine axis, and even normalize colonic flora
Woman doubled down in pain

Gastrointestinal Issues

Digestive disorders encompass a wide range of conditions affecting the GI tract, including acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. Only in the United States alone, these disorders affect more than 40 million people resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually on health care.

 

When conventional treatments (medications and dietary changes) can’t provide a complete cure, acupuncture is a reasonable therapy to try.

 

Acupuncture Therapy

Acupuncture goes back more than 2,000 years. It involves insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. The inserted needles can be further stimulated by hand, laser, electricity, or heat to produce a desired effect. By restoring harmony within the body, acupuncture aims to alleviate symptoms, address root causes, and enhance overall health.

 

Modern Research

Contemporary research indicates that acupuncture works by balancing the autonomous nervous system, regulating gastrointestinal motility, and potentiating gastroenteric hormones. Chinese herbs are often used in conjunction with acupuncture helping reduce visceral hypersensitivity, decrease mucosal inflammation, regulate the brain-intestine axis, and even normalize colonic flora. As a matter of fact, following acupuncture, gut microbiota shift closer to normal while the levels of pro-inflammatory signaling molecules (TNF-alpha and IL-12) decrease.

 

Acupuncture Works

Recent studies have shown that acupuncture is effective in a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders, including:

 

Acid reflux and hyperacidity

Acupuncture may help regulate gastric acid secretion, improve esophageal motility, strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter thus reducing discomfort associated with acid reflux (hearburn).

 

Nausea and vomiting

Acupuncture may reduce nausea and vomiting by regulating the autonomic nervous system, enhancing gastric emptying, and modulating neurotransmitter release.

 

Gastroparesis

Acupuncture is an effective treatment for nausea, vomiting, and early satiety – the symptoms associated with gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying).

 

Indigestion

Acupuncture may promote gastric motility, regulate gastric acid production, and enhance mucosal healing in gastritis.

 

Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs)

Acupuncture can modulate intestinal motility, improve stool consistency, and reduce mucosal inflammation leading to significant reduction in IBS symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, and nausea).

 

Constipation

Dr. Lu has had good results treating constipation with acupuncture. Acupuncture has been shown to work by enhancing peristalsis and decreasing water reabsorption in the colon.

 

Other Gut Issues

Besides the conditions mentioned above, acupuncture can be helpful in treating:

 

  • Bloating

  • Chronic diarrhea

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Post-surgical ileus

  • SIBO

  • Spastic colon

 

Holistic Health Care in Pinellas County

Dr. Lu is seeing patients in his downtown St. Pete office. For more information or to schedule a FREE session, please contact Point of Cure Acupuncture and Electromedicine by phone at 727-252-6060 or via this website.

References

Kim, M. J., Lee, S., & Kim, S. N. (2023). Effects of acupuncture on gastrointestinal diseases and its underlying mechanism: a literature review of animal studies. Frontiers in medicine, 10, 1167356. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2023.1167356

 

Li, X., Liu, S., Liu, H., & Zhu, J. J. (2023). Acupuncture for gastrointestinal diseases. Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007), 306(12), 2997–3005. https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.24871

 

Xuefen, W., Ping, L., Li, L., Xiaoli, C., & Yue, Z. (2020). A Clinical Randomized Controlled Trial of Acupuncture Treatment of Gastroparesis Using Different Acupoints. Pain research & management, 2020, 8751958. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/8751958

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Dr. Elias Lu, DTCM is an acupuncture physician with Point of Cure Acupuncture and Electromedicine. In practice for over 25 years, he integrates traditional Chinese medicine with modern functional therapies to help people with chronic pain, trauma, neurodegenerative disorders, anxiety, depression, and many other life's challenges.

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