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Is Acupuncture as good as drugs for constipation?

Acupuncture is as effective as drug therapy for the treatment of chronic functional constipation (CFC), according to a large Chinese study.

The trial involved 684 patients who were randomly allocated to receive one of three acupuncture protocols or the gastroprokinetic drug mosapride for a period of four weeks. The acupuncture protocols used were (i) Shu-mu points group: bilateral Tianshu ST-25 and Dachangshu BL-25; (ii) He points group: bilateral Quchi L.I.-11 and Shangjuxu ST-37; and (iii) Shu-Mu-He points group: bilateral Tianshu ST-25, Dachangshu BL-25, Quchi L.I.-11 and Shangjuxu ST-37. Sixteen sessions of acupuncture were delivered over four weeks, and all points were stimulated electrically with a continuous wave at 15 Hz for 30 minutes.

Acupuncture as good as drugs for constipation

By the end of four weeks of treatment, the number of spontaneous bowel movements (SBMs) had increased significantly in all groups compared with baseline, and the magnitude of increase was equivalent in all four groups. However at week eight follow up, the change in bowel movements was significantly smaller in the mosapride group compared with the three acupuncture groups. Stool consistency also improved in all groups, with no difference between any of the acupuncture protocols and drug treatment.

Retrieved from Journal of Chinese Medicine