Acupuncture For Ulcerative Colitis

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What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a sort of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestines. UC causes inflammation and ulcers along the lining of the colon. There is no treatment for UC, but working with your physician and starting a treatment program can decrease the seriousness of your symptoms. This may also bring about periods of remission, which is when your symptoms go away. Classic medication for this condition consists of anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressant drugs. These medications work to prevent inflammatory reactions. Even if medications improve your symptoms and quality of life, UC is a lifelong illness. Episodes of bloody stools, diarrhea, and stomach pain may return.

When medication alone does not maintain your body in remission, it may be time to check into alternative or complementary treatment programs like acupuncture. Notice significant lessening of pain and inflammation after 5 or 6 acupuncture visits. The overall treatment is between 1 to 2 months, depending on the seriousness of the condition.

Besides acupuncture, dietary adjustment associated with your body type is advised to help alleviate the problems and to avoid future occurrences. Although food allergy and intolerant evaluations with skin prick test, oral challenge test, and IgE blood test might show harmful foods that are causing the problem in your intestines, a body type identification will show extra ingredients, which are the culprit.

Symptoms and complications of ulcerative colitis:

Inflammation can lead to the colon becoming empty often, and more frequently, causing diarrhea. Tiny open sores formed on the surface of the lining of the colon can lead to blood in the stool. The inflamed lining also generates a larger than normal quantity of intestinal mucus, which occasionally contains pus. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis may fluctuate based on the amount of inflammation and colon infection.

Typical symptoms include:

– Abdominal pain

– Appetite and weight loss

– Fever

– Bloody diarrhea with mucus

– Dehydration

– Tenesmus

– Fatigue

– Anemia

When inflammation has penetrated deeper into the walls of the colon, severe complications like profuse bleeding from acute ulcers and perforation of the colon may emerge. Other complications like cirrhosis, inflammation of the eye, arthritis, or osteoporosis may occur when the immune system triggers inflammation in other areas of the body.

How does acupuncture view Ulcerative Colitis?

How does acupuncture view UC?

Acupuncture is one of the traditional Chinese medicine components. This kind of treatment involves pricking or inserting tiny needles into various points of the body at different depths. The objective of therapy is to restore the flow of energy throughout the entire body. Correcting this imbalance promotes relaxation, stimulates healing, and alleviates pain. Acupuncture has been widely utilized to treat an assortment of conditions. A few of them include arthritis, back pain, depression, and fibromyalgia. Additionally, it is used to soothe labor pain and menstrual cramps.

From the view of TCM, ulcerative colitis could be caused by the invasion of the exterior pathogenic factors, inherent deficiencies, or an unbalanced diet. Constitutional deficiencies usually refer to spleen, gut, and kidney deficiencies. The invasion of exterior pathogenic factors refers to damp-heat or damp-cold. An unbalanced diet like one high in cold or raw foods may harm the spleen and stomach by blocking functions in transforming and transporting nutrients and food. Therapies, including acupuncture, could bolster a change of diet.
An organ in TCM isn’t just an anatomical structure, but a set of orderly units which operate together through the meridian system. So when speaking about a spleen or kidney deficiency, it doesn’t mean that there’s harm to the physical organ, ordinarily. In TCM, the belief is that every patient is viewed as an individual, with a strong link between body and mind, and to their surroundings.
Based on the severity and characteristics, ulcerative colitis can be divided into seven major categories:
– Damp-heat in the large intestine
– Damp-cold affecting the spleen
– Alternation of warmth and cold attacks
– Liver overacting on the spleen
– Qi and blood stagnation
– Damp accumulation with spleen deficiency
– Spleen and kidney Yang deficiency.
In TCM theory, many chronic esophageal intestinal diseases are categorized as spleen deficiency. It’s thought that the spleen is the vital organ essential in maintaining the health of the intestines. It has primary responsibility for”changing” and”hauling” food character within the body, including the excretion of waste material. If it becomes deficient in Qi or Yang, a pathogenic state of dampness can settle in the body, causing diarrhea, fatigue, and other ailments symptoms. Other organs, particularly the Liver and Kidney, may also lead to intestinal distress. TCM treatment generally uses acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to deal with these imbalances and provide lifestyle and diet advice. When implemented properly, these modalities balance Yin and Yang, harmonize Qi and blood, nourish the organs, and remove dampness.
TCM is a multifaceted healing modality that includes bodywork treatment, like acupuncture, in addition to the extensive use of herbal mixtures and dietary recommendations. TCM developed over several centuries in China. It is based on a philosophy that has the notion that disease is due to malfunctions of energy channels or blockages in the body.
Acupuncture for colitis and Chinese herbal medicine has been applied to aid patients suffering from ulcerative colitis within the TCM diagnostic frame (prioritizing the underlying cause within the symptoms). Traditional meds usually contain ingredients that strengthen the spleen, replenish Qi, clear heat, and expel dampness. They’re effective in resolving inflammation, regulating the immune system, and conditioning the gut. Clinical improvement isn’t the only virtue of such treatment. Investigatory examinations, such as stool tests and colonoscopies, show healing of the ulcers in the colon, normalization of the mucosa, and a reduction in swelling.

Acupuncture treatment for ulcerative colitis

How can acupuncture help with ulcerative colitis?

Acupuncture may be an effective treatment for ulcerative colitis because it triggers or enhances the body’s natural painkillers. This action helps your body regulate inflammation, reduces disease action, and reduces pain associated with UC.

According to TCM, most of the symptoms result from blocked energy along the body’s energy pathways. These blockages can be unblocked when acupuncture needles are inserted together these invisible pathways through acupuncture. Acupuncture for colitis may also help regulate the body’s immune system and enhance the general constitution. Additionally, Chinese herbal medicine may be able to target the source of the disease and improve one’s general well-being. This root cause healing enables the body to effectively experience its healing from ulcerative colitis.

The acupuncture approach generally includes two stages: in the active stage, the principal task is to eliminate the pathogen and relieve symptoms. In the convalescence stage, the top priority is to strengthen inherent flaws and repair internal damage.

Besides acupuncture for colitis and herbal therapy, acupuncture emphasizes that a proper diet also plays an essential part in the recovery of esophageal colitis.TCM recognizes that dietary intake with excessive cold or raw food can harm the spleen and the stomach. Consequently, diet plays an essential role in both prevention and effective treatment of this illness, when combined with remedies like acupuncture for colitis.

Patients are often encouraged to prevent any food which might cause recurrences, such as certain chemicals, and raw or cold meals. Milk, cheese, and other dairy products should usually be avoided, particularly if the patients have lactose intolerance. Alcohol should be avoided as it might be irritating to the stomach and the intestines. Besides preventing the “wrong foods,” it is just as essential to be sure that the patients have adequate fluid and calorie intake, as dehydration and malnutrition are common problems associated with ulcerative colitis.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s been one clinical trial to check the advantages of using acupuncture for UC therapy. Likewise, a 2016 review looked at 63 studies between 1995 and 2015 that assessed the efficacy of acupuncture for UC. However, there were significant variations among the remedies in these studies. Some of these studies included acupuncture and moxibustion (a sort of heat therapy) combined with drug therapy. Other research examined the use of acupuncture and moxibustion therapy alone. More study is needed to find out the efficacy of acupuncture alone in enhancing bowel inflammation.

There are no guarantees that acupuncture therapy can help you. But acupuncture is usually safe and offers other possible health benefits. The only way to know whether it is going to work is to give it a go.

Treatment procedure

What to expect in the acupuncture session

A certified acupuncturist will ask about your symptoms and condition. According to this information, they will estimate the number of treatments you will need per week. They’ll also work out the number of overall treatments you will need.

This number varies depending upon your condition and how intense it is. It’s not uncommon to get benefits between six and eight treatments.

You will lie on an exam table during your appointment. You must stay completely still. As soon as you’re relaxed, your acupuncturist will insert the needles into your skin at various points and depths. The needles cause little or no discomfort. You may feel a small twinge of pain if your acupuncturist must control a needle to reach the ideal depth. You could also feel a feeling if your acupuncturist heats the needles or sends mild electric pulses through the needles.

The number of needles you will receive can vary from 5 to 20. Needles will usually remain in place for 10 to 20 minutes.

When you complete the recommended number of treatments, monitor your UC symptoms for advancement. If acupuncture helps your symptoms, you can schedule appointments for care treatment. If your symptoms do not improve, acupuncture may not be the ideal therapy for you.


Acupuncture is a generally safe alternative treatment for UC.  Consult with your physician before beginning acupuncture treatments. This advice helps ensure you are a good match for this treatment. Additionally, ensure you opt for a practitioner with proper training. This step can lower the chance of complications. If at all possible, use a supplier who has experience treating people living with UC.