DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS: ACUPUNCTURE IS AN EFFECTIVE OPTION IN WACO, TEXAS
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide range of health conditions, including digestive problems. Over the past few decades, there has been a growing interest in using acupuncture as a complementary therapy for digestive disorders, and numerous studies have been conducted to explore its effectiveness. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the research regarding acupuncture and digestive problems to help you better understand its potential benefits.
Digestive problems can refer to a range of conditions that affect the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Common digestive problems include acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain. These conditions can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, diet, medications, and underlying medical conditions.
How Does Acupuncture Work for Digestive Problems?
Acupuncture is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which holds that the body has a natural flow of energy, or Qi, that travels through channels called meridians. When Qi becomes blocked or disrupted, it can lead to physical and emotional symptoms. Acupuncture works by inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the flow of Qi and restore balance.
When it comes to digestive problems, acupuncture can help by:
- Stimulating nerve endings in the digestive tract, which can increase gastrointestinal motility and reduce inflammation.
- Regulating the autonomic nervous system, which plays a role in digestive function.
- Reducing stress and anxiety, which can exacerbate digestive problems.
Detailed answers to frequently asked questions about acupuncture can be found here.
What Does the Research Say?
Over the past few decades, numerous studies have been conducted to explore the effectiveness of acupuncture for digestive problems.
Acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. A randomized controlled trial published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology in 2014 investigated the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating IBS. The study involved 90 participants who were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture or a sham treatment. The results showed that acupuncture was effective in reducing symptoms of IBS, improving quality of life, and reducing anxiety and depression in patients with IBS.
Another study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 2018 compared the effectiveness of acupuncture and a sham treatment in treating IBS. The study involved 116 participants and found that acupuncture was more effective than a sham treatment in improving bowel movements, reducing abdominal pain and bloating, and improving quality of life in patients with IBS.
Acupuncture for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a common digestive disorder that causes acid reflux and heartburn. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 2019 analyzed the results of 13 randomized controlled trials involving 1,160 participants. The results showed that acupuncture was effective in reducing symptoms of GERD, including acid reflux, heartburn, and regurgitation.
Acupuncture for Functional Dyspepsia
Functional Dyspepsia is a chronic digestive disorder that causes pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen. A randomized controlled trial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2015 investigated the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating functional dyspepsia. The study involved 233 participants who were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture or a sham treatment. The results showed that acupuncture was effective in reducing symptoms of functional dyspepsia, including pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen.
What to Expect During an Acupuncture Session
During an acupuncture session, your acupuncturist will conduct a detailed exam, will make a diagnosis, and then will insert thin needles into specific points on your body. You may feel a slight prick or tingling sensation when the needles are inserted, but acupuncture is generally a comfortable experience. Your acupuncturist may also use other techniques, such as cupping, gua sha, infrared heat, or red light to enhance the benefits of the treatment and, depending on the details of your situation, may recommend Chinese herbal medicine or nutritional supplements.
Acupuncture sessions typically last between 45 and 60 minutes, and you will need multiple sessions to achieve the desired results. Your acupuncturist will work with you to develop a treatment plan based on your specific needs and goals.
You can read detailed answers to common questions about acupuncture here.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a licensed and experienced practitioner. The needles used in acupuncture are sterile and disposable, and the risk of infection or other complications is extremely low.
Finding a Qualified Acupuncturist
If you are interested in trying acupuncture to help manage your digestive problems, it is important to find a qualified practitioner. Look for someone who is licensed and certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
Licensed Acupuncturist in Waco, Texas
If you are interested in trying acupuncture to help manage your digestive problems and are located in the central Texas area, our expert acupuncturist can help you. With over 20 years of clinical experience, she has helped thousands of patients in Waco, Texas and the surrounding areas to find relief through acupuncture and other modalities. Contact us today — we are happy to answer your questions and would be honored to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients.
While more research is needed to fully understand the effectiveness of acupuncture for digestive problems, the available evidence suggests that it may be a safe and effective complementary therapy for conditions such as IBS, indigestion, and acid reflux. If you’re interested in trying acupuncture for your digestive problems, it’s important to find a licensed and experienced acupuncturist who can help you determine the best course of treatment. As with any complementary therapy, it’s also important to talk to your doctor before starting acupuncture to ensure that it’s safe and appropriate for you.
- Shi Y, et al. (2014). Acupuncture for patients with irritable bowel syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(29), 11028-11036.
- Li Z, et al. (2018). Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 33(2), 394-403.
- Zhou X, et al. (2019). The efficacy of acupuncture for gastroesophageal reflux disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 34(1), 22-29.
- Liang F, et al. (2015). Acupuncture and moxibustion for primary dyspepsia: A randomized controlled trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 163(9), 1-9.