Colitis and Crohn's

These are autoimmune digestive conditions that cause severe damage to the intestines as your body attacks your own cells, causing inflammation, pain, structural damage (tearing etc) to the intestines. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, fever, and joint pain. Typical therapy is intensive, including pain killers, steroids, and immune suppressants. In colitis particularly, tears are formed in the bowel, where large proteins are allow to escape directly into the blood stream, activating a strong immune response (further inflammation, pain, and other allergy symptoms).

Acupuncture in combination with nutritional therapy address the root causes of these disorders. Acupuncture balances the nervous system and immune response, while temporary dietary intervention will reduce typical allergens and colon irritants. Probiotics and herbal medicine reestablish healthy gut flora and allow the intestines to begin to heal.

Although the research is mixed regarding these disorders, many studies show positive effects of acupuncture for Crohn’s patients. A recent controlled study revealed positive changes in quality of life and general well-being, and decreases in serum markers of inflammation (alpha(1)-acid glycoprotein, C-reactive protein). Similar research results are found for acupuncture and colitis. Patients in the acupuncture group had significant reductions in colitis activity measures and inflammation markers after 10 sessions of acupuncture.

[1] Joos S, Brinkhaus B, Maluche C, Maupai N, Kohnen R, Kraehmer N, Hahn EG, Schuppan D. Acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of active Crohn's disease: a randomized controlled study. Digestion. 2004;69(3):131-9.

[2] Joos S, Wildau N, Kohnen R, Szecsenyi J, Schuppan D, Willich SN, Hahn EG, Brinkhaus B Acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of ulcerative colitis: a randomized controlled study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006 Sep;41(9):1056-63