A large British trial studying the use of acupuncture for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), has shown it offers significant benefits for patients. A total of 233 patients were drawn from five GP practices. Their mean age was 44, 81% were women, and they had suffered from IBS for on average 13 years. Half were assigned to receive ten weekly acupuncture sessions plus their usual care, whilst the other half received usual care alone. Acupuncture was given by experienced practitioners according to an individual traditional Chinese medical diagnosis.
At the three month point, the two treatment groups exhibited a statistically significant difference in favour of acupuncture. Using a validated scoring system based on the severity of the key symptoms of IBS, the acupuncture group exhibited a 49% treatment success rate, set against 31% in the control group. This largely persisted at six, nine and twelve months.
(Acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Primary Care Based Pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial. BMC Gastroenterology, October 2012.)