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Ulcerative Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Acupuncture Treatment



Acupuncture is effective in treating functional gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and non-ulcer dyspepsia, as well as inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Acupuncture shows favorable outcomes for both ulcerative and non-ulcerative colitis, as well as IBS.


The reflex areas for intestinal disorders are located on the anterior and medial side of the lower limbs, the lumbosacral area, and the abdomen. The lumbosacral area is a common site for positive reflex responses in clinical practice, and stimulation of this area can effectively treat intestinal conditions, whether diarrhea or constipation. The abdomen is sensitive to thermal stimulation, so applying infrared light during needle retention or using a hot water bottle around the navel (Shenque point) can enhance and consolidate the treatment effect.


A common treatment combination for intestinal disorders involves simultaneous stimulation of points on the abdomen and lower limbs, followed by stimulation of points in the lumbosacral area. Complementary treatment with Chinese herbal medicine can enhance the effectiveness.


Some patients experience immediate significant relief with acupuncture, but symptoms may recur after a period. A common clinical strategy is to continue treatment for a duration after initial effectiveness, providing "preventive regulatory stimulation" aimed at consolidating the treatment effect. This approach helps maintain the benefits achieved and can prevent or delay the recurrence of symptoms.

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