Acupuncture has traditionally been used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in China and is increasingly being applied in Western countries. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of active Crohn’s disease (CD).
A prospective, randomized, controlled, single-blind clinical trial was carried out to analyze the change in the CD activity index (CDAI) after treatment as the main outcome measure, and the changes in quality of life and general well-being, serum markers of inflammation (alpha(1)-acid glycoprotein, C-reactive protein) as secondary outcome measures. 51 patients with mild to moderately active CD were treated in a single center for complementary medicine by three trained acupuncturists and randomly assigned to receive either traditional acupuncture (TCM group, n = 27) or control treatment at non-acupuncture points (control group, n = 24). Patients were treated in 10 sessions over a period of 4 weeks and followed up for 12 weeks.
In the TCM group the CDAI decreased from 250 +/- 51 to 163 +/- 56 points as compared with a mean decrease from 220 +/- 42 to 181 +/- 46 points in the control group (TCM vs. control group: p = 0.003). In both groups, these changes were associated with improvements in general well-being and quality of life. With regard to general well-being, traditional acupuncture was superior to control treatment (p = 0.045). alpha(1)-acid glycoprotein concentration fell significantly only in the TCM group (p = 0.046).
Apart from a marked placebo effect, traditional acupuncture offers an additional therapeutic benefit in patients with mild to moderately active CD.
1- Joos S, Brinkhaus B, Maluche C, Maupai N, Kohnen R, Kraehmer N, Hahn EG, Schuppan D.
Acupuncture treats Crohn’s Disease – New Research
11 MARCH 2011
A recent study shows that acupuncture is an effective treatment for Crohn’s disease. The study was conducted by researchers at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Shanghai Research Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion and was published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science. The objective of the study was to determine the effects of acupuncture on intestinal fibrosis in cases of Crohn’s disease. The researchers measured the effects of acupuncture on basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and type I collagen (Col I) in the intestines of laboratory rats with Crohn’s disease. After the use of acupuncture, the expressions of Col I and bFGF reduced markedly in rats with Crohn’s disease. The research proved that acupuncture treatment reduces abnormally high levels of these substances. By reducing the abnormally high levels of Col I and bFGF, acupuncture prevents fibrosis in the intestines of those with Crohn’s disease.
(Article reference: Chen Zhao, Juying Ding, Jindan Ma, Linying Tan, Huangan Wu, Yingying Zhang and Linshan Zhang, Acupuncture on the basic fibroblast growth factor and type I collagen in colons of rats with Crohn’s disease, JOURNAL OF ACUPUNCTURE AND TUINA SCIENCE, Volume 9, Number 1, 1-6.)