Acupuncture for Digestive Health & Bowel Diseases

Acupuncture for Digestive Health & Bowel Diseases.

There are many types, patterns and causes of gastrointestinal symptoms. Common symptoms include stomach ulcers and acid reflux, bloating, hernias, diarrhoea and constipation as well as food intolerances.

Abdominal pain is one of the most frequent reasons for visiting a doctor or emergency department. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes abdominal pain, bloating and alternating constipation and diarrhoea. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases which cause symptoms such as diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Regular colonoscopy screening from the age of 50 years is the best way to detect and prevent bowel cancer.

What Does The Research Say?

The following insights are obtained from systematic reviews and analysis of clinical trials investigating the efficacy of Chinese medicine and acupuncture for digestive health & bowel diseases.

Consult with our practitioners for personalised care and advice.

Although well-conducted clinical research can help members of the public to make better-informed decisions about their healthcare, we do not make any claims that any particular treatment may be efficacious for any individual person.

When you consult with our Chinese medicine practitioners, you'll receive personalised advice and treatment based on your symptoms and Chinese medicine diagnosis.

Scientific References

Browse our collection of scientific clinical research on acupuncture for digestive health & bowel diseases.

It includes recent and reputable papers published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years.

Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine

2022, Jun 28

Acupuncture and Moxibustion in the Treatment of Adult Diarrhea Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Network Meta-analysis
Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine

Acupuncture+sandwiched moxibustion has the best effect on improving the efficacy and quality of life (QOL) of irritable bowel syndrome complicated with diarrhea (IBS-D) patients.

Jiang X, Guo X, Zhou J, Ye S Full Article

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

2022, Jan 06

Prebiotic effects of goji berry in protection against inflammatory bowel disease
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

Goji berry and its polysaccharides consumption have been found to have protective effects against oxidative stress, inflammation, and neurodegeneration associated with IBD, due to their prebiotic effects on the gut microbiota.

Sun Q, Du M, Kang Y, Zhu MJ Full Article

Frontiers in Public Health

2021, Jun 11

Clinical Efficacy of Infantile Massage in the Treatment of Infant Functional Constipation: A Meta-Analysis
Frontiers in Public Health

TCM infant massage can increase defecation frequency and reduce the symptoms of constipation in children suffering from functional constipation; in addition, the clinical trial showed beneficial effects.

Zhi Liu, Li Gang, Ma Yunwei, Ling Lin Full Article

Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy

2020, Jan

Prebiotic, immuno-stimulating and gut microbiota-modulating effects of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide
Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy

The study concludes that LBP supports the growth of selective probiotic bacteria, enhances the intestinal microbiota, boosts beneficial bacteria levels, and modulates the innate immune response.

Zhu W, Zhou S, Liu J, McLean RJC, Chu W Full Article

Frontiers in Pharmacology

2020, Jan 29

Network Pharmacology-Based Strategy to Investigate the Pharmacologic Mechanisms of Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz. for the Treatment of Chronic Gastritis
Frontiers in Pharmacology

We showed that AMK probably influences the inflammatory response, amino acid synthesis, and energy metabolism when treating CG. This study provides novel insights for researchers to explore the mechanism of action of TCM systematically.

Yang S, Zhang J, Yan Y, Yang M, Li C, Li J, Zhong L, Gong Q, Yu H Full Article


2020, Jan 6

Ginger on Human Health: A Comprehensive Systematic Review of 109 Randomized Controlled Trials

This study showcased that ginger has been effective in digestive function, improvement in the expression level of markers for colorectal cancer risk, and anti-inflammatory functions.

Anh NH, Kim SJ, Long NP, Min JE, Yoon YC, Lee EG, Kim M, Kim TJ, Yang YY, Son EY, Yoon SJ, Diem NC, Kim HM, Kwon SW. Full Article

World Journal of Gastroenterology

2020, May 21

Effects and mechanisms of acupuncture and electroacupuncture for functional dyspepsia: A systematic review
World Journal of Gastroenterology

Guo Y, Wei W, Chen JD Full Article


2019, Sep

Time to treatment response of a magnesium- and sulphate-rich natural mineral water in functional constipation

The study concludes that Hépar is effective and safe in treating functional constipation, with a response seen within 7 days.

Dupont C, Constant F, Imbert A, Hébert G, Zourabichvili O, Kapel N Full Article

Nutrition Reviews

2019, Oct 22

Effects of oats on gastrointestinal health as assessed by in vitro, animal, and human studies
Nutrition Reviews

The study concludes that there is evidence showing beneficial effects of oats on gastrointestinal health in humans, as supported by in vitro and animal studies.

Korczak R, Kocher M, Swanson KS Full Article

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

2018, Jan

Effects of Alkaline-Reduced Drinking Water on Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea: A Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

In a randomized controlled trial involving 27 patients with diarrhea-predominant IBS, those who ingested at least 2 liters/day of alkaline-reduced water (ARW) for eight weeks showed significant improvement in IBS quality-of-life scores compared to the control group ingesting placebo water. Additionally, a higher percentage of patients in the ARW group reported symptom improvement, and the abdominal pain score showed a numerical decrease in the ARW group. The findings suggest that the consumption of ARW for eight weeks may positively impact the quality of life in individuals with diarrhea-predominant IBS.

Shin DW, Yoon H, Kim HS, Choi YJ, Shin CM, Park YS, Kim N, Lee DH Full Article


2017, Dec 18

Systematic review and meta-analysis of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome
PLOS One Public Library of Science

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) showed greater improvement in terms of clinical efficacy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) than cisapride and mosapride.

Dan-yan Li , Yun-kai Dai , Yun-zhan Zhang, Meng-xin Huang, Ru-liu Li, Jia Ou-yang, Wei-jing Chen, Ling Hu Full Article

Acupuncture in Medicine

2017, Oct

Acupuncture for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Acupuncture in Medicine British Medical Acupuncture Society

This journal study suggests that acupuncture improve recurrence rates compared with Western Medicine (WM) when used alone. Acupuncture lead to greater overall improvement when used as an adjunct to WM in patients with GORD. They may also have a positive impact on quality of life.

Zhu, J., Guo, Y., Liu, S., Su, X., Li, Y., Yang, Y., Hou, L., Wang, G., Zhang, J., Chen, J. J. D., Wang, Q., Wei, R., & Wei, W. Full Article

Tissue and Cell

2017, Oct

Gastroprotective and mucosa homeostatic activities of coconut milk and water on experimentally induced gastropathies in male wistar rats
Tissue and Cell

We conclude that the protective effects of coconut (water and milk) is expressed by inflammation suppression, upregulation of mucus cell population and catalyses mucosa homeostasis via angiogenesis and mucosal cell proliferation following mucosa. erosion.

Ajeigbe KO, Owonikoko WM, Egbe V, Iquere I, Adeleye G Full Article

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

2017, Aug 14

Putative mechanisms of kiwifruit on maintenance of normal gastrointestinal function
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

There are a number of identified mechanisms that may be activated by kiwifruit compounds, such as the induction of motility via protease-activated signaling, modulation of microflora, changes in colonic methane status, bile flux, or mediation of inflammatory processes.

Bayer SB, Gearry RB, Drummond LN Full Article

World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology

2016, Jan

Efficacy and tolerability of hydrogen carbonate-rich water for heartburn
World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology

The data demonstrate effectiveness of a hydrogen carbonate-rich mineral water in alleviating heartburn frequency and severity, thereby improving quality of life. The water has excellent tolerability.

Beer AM Full Article

World Journal of Gastroenterology

2015, Jul 21

Acupuncture and regulation of gastrointestinal function
World Journal of Gastroenterology

In this review, we discuss the regulation on gastrointestinal (GI) function through acupuncture from the perspectives of GI motility, the GI barrier, visceral sensitivity, and the brain-gut axis. The results of studies in both humans and animals suggest that acupuncture has the potential to treat GI disorders by regulating GI motility, the GI barrier, visceral sensitivity, and the brain-gut axis. In addition, the dual regulatory effects and the intensity-dependent nature of acupuncture on GI motility are discussed.

Li H, He T, Xu Q, Li Z, Liu Y, Li F, Yang BF, Liu CZ. Full Article

European Journal of Nutrition

2015, Nov 18

Efficacy and safety of a natural mineral water rich in magnesium and sulphate for bowel function: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study
European Journal of Nutrition

The study concluded that daily consumption of the natural mineral water improved bowel movement frequency, stool consistency, and health-related quality of life in subjects with functional constipation.

Bothe G, Coh A, Auinger A Full Article

Molecular Medicine Reports

2014, Mar 05

Component analysis of Pu-erh and its anti-constipation effects
Molecular Medicine Reports

Pu-erh tea demonstrates a preventive effect on constipation, comparable to bisacodyl.


Scientific Reports

2012, Dec

Integrating next-generation sequencing and traditional tongue diagnosis to determine tongue coating microbiome
Scientific Reports

The results reveal an important connection between the tongue-coating microbiome and traditional tongue diagnosis and illustrate the potential of the tongue-coating microbiome as a novel holistic biomarker for characterizing patient subtypes.

Bai Jiang, Xujun Liang, Yang Chen, Tao Ma, Liyang Liu, Junfeng Li, Rui Jiang, Ting Chen, Xuegong Zhang & Shao Li Full Article

Yin Tang
“It is by virtue of the twelve channels that human life exists, that disease arises, that human beings can be treated and illness cured. The twelve channels are where beginners start and masters end.” The Classic of Acupuncture
Circa 1st Century BCE