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Study Shows Acupuncture and Moxibustion Provide Relief from IBD Symptoms

By: Vanessa Vogel Batt L.Ac. MSOM

The ability of acupuncture and moxibustion to control symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) was examined in a 2013 study called Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of chronic diseases which inflame various parts of the digestive tract to produce symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea. Moxibustion is an Oriental medicine therapy in which smoke from the burning of the herb mugwort penetrates through the skin and into the body.

The meta-analysis compiled evidence from seven major databases from all over the world. Researchers investigated 43 scientific studies. Ten of these studies compared the use of moxibustion with a popular pharmaceutical drug called sulphasalazine (oral SASP), which is used to address the irritation in the large intestine. The heat therapy produced statistically significant benefits for symptoms of IBD over the use of sulphasalazine.

The other trials also yielded results favoring the use of acupuncture to manage the pain and other symptoms of IBD. Researchers stated in their analysis of overall clinical efficacy that whether utilizing acupuncture alone, moxibustion alone, or a combination of the two, they all demonstrated superior results over the drug sulphasalazine for addressing symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Although this is a very promising conclusion, researchers also make clear the importance of future studies to further advance the use of acupuncture and moxibustion for inflammatory bowel disease.

Source: Ji, J., Lu, Y., Liu, H., Feng, H., Zhang, F., Wu, L., … Wu, H. (2013). Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2013, 158352. http://doi.org/10.1155/2013/158352

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About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.

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