Z Gastroenterol. 1993 Oct; 31(10): 605-8.
Body acupuncture: effect on colonic function in chronic constipation.
Department of Gastroenterology, Klinikum Innenstadt, Medizinische Klinik, University of Munich, Germany.
Acupuncture has been claimed to be an efficacious treatment for chronic constipation, though there are no studies to prove this. We therefore investigated the effect of body acupuncture on stool frequency and colonic transit time of radiopaque markers in 8 constipated patients (58 +/- 6 years, 3 female; vigorous straining necessary to open bowels without the use of laxatives for more than one year, total colonic marker transit > 60 h) in a control period and during a three weeks treatment period with six sessions. Acupuncture was performed as body acupuncture with electric needles (10 Hz, current titrated to individual threshold, 25 min each session) on acupuncture points Di4 [He Gu], Ma25 [Tian Shu], Le3 [Yuan], and B125 [Da Chang Yu]). Two patients dropped out during acupuncture because symptoms of constipation worsened. In the other 6 patients, stool frequencies and colonic transit times were not significantly different during control and acupuncture period (0.38 +/- 0.09 vs. 0.40 +/- 0.14 defecations per day +/- s.e.m., 95% confidence interval for the difference control minus acupuncture [-0.34; 0.30], and 97 +/- 17 vs. 108 +/- 24h, 95% Cl [-50; 27]). Segmental transit times for right and left hemicolon, and rectosigmoid colon did not differ significantly either. In conclusion, acupuncture as performed in this study does not influence objective parameters of colonic function to a clinically relevant degree.