Studies Link Acupuncture and Relief from Diarrhea

Posted in For Patients


Suffering from frequent or regular diarrhea? Worried about your hydration and electrolyte levels? Concerned that your quality of life is (literally) going down the tubes? Here’s some good news: studies have shown that as few as 10 acupuncture sessions can seriously improve sufferers’ bowel health, without resorting to side-effect heavy drugs.


Brain imaging for bowel well-being


In a study looking into how acupuncture improves bowel health, eighteen sufferers of chronic diarrhea and eighteen healthy control participants were given a course of 10 acupuncture treatments targeted at ST25 acupoints in the abdomen. These acupoints have traditionally been used to regulate the spleen, stomach and intestines to regulate the Qi (or energy) and the blood, dispelling the dampness and heat that are often associated with chronic or functional diarrhea.


From a more conventional standpoint, the study was focused on observing the brain function that resulted from acupuncture treatments, in an effort to pinpoint the source of acupuncture’s effectiveness. To do this, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans were made before and after acupuncture.




fMRI scans reveal which parts of the brain are working during and after a given action–we have learned lots of previously mysterious things about the brain by observing which parts light up when we’re performing different tasks. For instance, did you know that the same parts of the brain light up after we’ve been swimming as if we are reading about a person swimming in a novel or short story? Insights about the interconnectedness of our bodies’ systems and processes have regularly been mined from fMRI studies, and this one is no exception.


In the case of this study, researchers found that in the group suffering from diarrhea, acupuncture treatments ignited the parts of the brain concerned with maintaining homeostasis within the nerve and processing networks assigned to controlling the body’s internal systems.

This suggests that acupuncture is able to help the body fix and regulate itself by sending messages to the parts of the brain that control the balance and function of internal systems like the digestive tract.


The real results: movement improvement


While we are always interested in learning more about how and why acupuncture works, what you may be more interested in learning is whether the acupuncture treatments actually helped the subjects suffering from diarrhea.


The results were conclusive: after only 10 sessions of acupuncture, the frequency of bowel movements was significantly decreased and the normalcy of stool consistency was improved.


Let us help


Don’t suffer with chronic of functional diarrhea without hope. Consult with us today and learn how we can help you manage and improve your condition and quality of life.


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