Acupuncture/ pressureIrritable Bowel SyndromeSwallowing (Dysphagia)

Is there a role for acupuncture in functional gastrointestinal disease?

Doctors use the word “functional” to describe symptoms or problems when they can find no anatomical abnormality.

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch, in Galveston reviewed the evidence using acupuncture and electro acupuncture.

First, the details.

  • A literature search included conditions affecting the esophagus to the colon
  • These included gastrointestinal motility and the functional diseases related to specific motility disorders.

And, the results.

  • The effects of acupuncture or electro acupuncture on gastrointestinal motility were fairly consistent.
  • The major acupuncture points used in these studies were ST36 and PC6.
  • Gastric motility has been studied mostly.
  • Much less information is available on the effect of electro acupuncture on small and large intestinal motility or related disorders.
  • Several clinical studies have been published on the therapeutic effects of electro acupuncture in functional gastrointestinal diseases, such as gastroesophageal reflux, functional dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome.

The bottom line?

“However, the findings of these clinical studies were inconclusive,” concluded the authors.

5/1/10 20:59 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.