Research undertaken in China suggests acupuncture helps IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) more effectively than standard drug treatment. A total of 531 patients aged 18 to 70 with IBS, were randomised to receive either acupuncture or drug treatment over a six week period at seven hospitals. Patients were the followed up for a further 12 weeks. Acupuncture was given three times a week, making 18 sessions in total.
During treatment, IBS symptom scores decreased by 124 in the acupuncture group and by 95 in the drug treatment group. These differences between the two groups persisted after a further 12 weeks of follow-up. The researchers conclude that acupuncture is a more effective intervention for IBS, and results in clinically meaningful benefits with long-lasting effects.
(Effect of Acupuncture in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, August 2020.)