Electro acupuncture can offer relief from symptoms in as short as 12 weeks, study reveals
Scientists have revealed the results of a new study where people suffering from severe constipation could find relief from electro acupuncture.
Electro acupuncture is a modern form of the ancient medical practice in China, where needles are placed in key points in the body. This new variation includes the introduction of electrical stimulation. Participants in the trials reported an improved way of life and a significant decrease in the symptoms after just 8 weeks of treatment.
Electro acupuncture involves inserting thin needles under the skin. These needles are hooked into a device that sends measured electric impulses to a person’s body. This development is welcome news for patients who are difficult to treat due to various reasons.
At the same time, news of this discovery was welcomed by the medical community. University of Calgary Cummings School of Medicine in Canada’s leading expert in gastroenterology, Dr. Christopher Andrews, was pleased to hear of the extensive trials and testings for the treatments. He said there have been plenty of alternative therapy options before, but none of them were backed up by scientific evidence.
This sentiment was echoed by Temple University School of Medicine (Philadelphia) professor Dr. Henry Parkman. He noted that electro acupuncture treatment will be a good alternative for patients who do not respond to regular medical treatment. These people are called refractory patients and have extreme cases of functional constipation.
He further explained that these patients only have bowel movements a maximum of twice per week. Their condition is not caused by medication or other medical problems.
More than a thousand patients were tested for the study. Half of the group was given electro acupuncture in Miami via needles inserted into the muscle layer of the abdominal wall. The control group on the other hand, were also inserted with needles, but only at a shallow level, and the areas selected since they were not the acupuncture points. This is the equivalent of being given placebos during a drug trial.
Expert acupuncturists were called in to administer the real and pretend treatments. Participants received a total of 28 sessions, each one lasting 30 minutes.
After eight weeks, 31 percent of the electro acupuncture. The group reported having three or more bowel movements in a span of one week. Experts say a human body should void its bowels three times per day to three times per week. This is considered the normal frequency.
The positive results continued after the trial was finished. One of the study’s authors and researchers, Dr. Jia (Marie) Liu from the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing expressed surprise after seeing the results. She said the post-treatment results could have been brought about by the sustained effect of electro acupuncture. Peak results were recorded on the 8th week of the trial period.
According to New York acupuncturist Dr. Daniel Hsu, acupuncture works by signaling the body to release its own painkillers. At the same time, it calms the nervous system. He further explained that stress can cause the system to become constipated and switches on the flight or flight response.
On the other hand, while the study is considered to be a tremendous success, it may not be replicated on a larger scale yet. The frequency needed may be difficult for some. The patients received electro acupuncture stimulation as often as five times per week. The cost of treatment may also be a limiting factor: it costs between $60 to $120 per session.