A new study published this month shows significant benefits of electroacupuncture (EA) and moxibustion (MOX) on patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The study took 82 IBS patients who were randomly allocated to receive either EA or MOX for 4 weeks on 2 acupuncture points (ST-25 and ST-37, bilaterally) for 30 minutes. Before and after the treatment, the Visual Analogue Scale for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (VAS-IBS) was used to evaluate the gastrointestinal symptoms and mental well-being, as well as the expression of serotonin receptors in sigmoid mucosal tissue.
Both EA and Mox can radically improve the total VAS-IBS score (P < 0.05). The most intriguing finding was the different advantage of EA/MOX therapy in IBS treatment: EA appeared to be more potent when dealing with constipation, while MOX demonstrated the advantage in coping diarrhea. The abnormal expressions of 5-HT, 5-HT3R, and 5-HT4R in both groups were significantly improved after the treatments.
Just as a reminder, IBS is a chronic, recurrent functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder with a prevalence of approx. 11% globally and interventions include mainly psychological support as well medications that target the specific dominant symptom, which is a problem as most IBS patients suffer from multiple coexisting complains.
Source: Yin Shi et al. “Electroacupuncture versus Moxibustion for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Randomized, Parallel-Controlled Trial,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015, doi:10.1155/2015/361786
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