Acupuncture for Constipation
Constipation refers to when a person is unable to go to the toilet frequently, and is one of the most common digestive problems in the Western world. We all experience constipation from time to time, with surveys estimating that more than 4 million people in the United States have frequent constipation. It’s responsible for millions of clinic visits every year, and can be incredibly difficult to manage.
Chronic constipation can be treated using mild prescribed laxatives, but these often produce unfavorable side effects, and only offer short-term relief. Many people with constipation may feel they have exhausted all their efforts in naturally resolving the issue through diet and lifestyle changes, taking a combination of supplements, and trying out home remedies, which don’t often prove effective.
The only long-term treatment option that currently shows real promise in reducing constipation is acupuncture.
How Acupuncture for Constipation Works
When treating constipation with acupuncture, a therapist will first learn about a patient’s exact medical condition to determine the best personal treatment plan to administer. Often, acupuncture is combined with other Chinese herbal medicines to produce the best results.
Acupuncture works to tackle the cause of constipation, rather the constipation itself. There are a number of common factors that may trigger constipation, many of which can be eliminated through acupuncture.
When acupuncture needles are inserted at various pressure points around the body, they stimulate the body to release its own naturally occurring painkillers and help restore balance in the nervous system. Stress is a known cause of constipation, and acupuncture soothes the body’s fight-or-flight response, helping to restore normal body functions like defecation.
The best pressure point locations for constipation include the area below the belly button, the back of the arm above the crease in the wrist, and the outer calf below the knee bone.
Proven Benefits of Acupuncture for Constipation
The benefits of acupuncture for constipation have been examined in a wide range of studies in previous years, which offer evidence that the therapy is highly effective.
One study by researchers at Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that acupuncture treatment relieved chronic constipation and produced greater long-term patient outcomes than prescribed medications.
A similar study looked at the efficiency of acupuncture for chronic constipation in participants who had experienced brain injury, and reported that frequency of defecation increased significantly after 10 weeks of acupuncture. Researchers concluded that acupuncture had the potential to be beneficial to patients with chronic constipation.
The Future of Acupuncture for Constipation
Looking at study results, acupuncture has proven highly effective in treating all cases of constipation. For patients who currently struggle to manage their constipation symptoms, acupuncture may be the best solution for improving quality of life and treating the cause of the issue. It’s likely that as studies continue to produce evidence in favor of acupuncture for constipation, it will be used more widely in the medical sphere in the future.