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Home > Newsletters > November 2005 > Recent Research

Recent Research

Electroacupuncture at ST-36 Stimulates Colonic Motility and Transit in Conscious Rats

Patients With Mental Disorders Often Seek Complementary Treatment

Acupuncture for Managing Myofascial Pain and Headache


Electroacupuncture at ST-36 Stimulates Colonic Motility and Transit in Conscious Rats

Iwa M, Matsushima M, et al., Department of Surgery, Duke University and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA; Department of Health Promoting Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Meiji University of Oriental Medicine, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan.

Acupuncture is helpful for functional bowel diseases, such as constipation and diarrhea. However, the mechanisms of beneficial effects of acupuncture on colonic function have barely ever been explored. A study was conducted to test the hypothesis that electroacupuncture (EA) at ST-36 stimulates colonic motility and transit through a parasympathetic pathway in conscious rats. Needles were inserted at bilateral ST-36 (lower limb) or BL-21 (back) and electrically stimulated at 10 Hz for 20 min. C-Fos expression in response to EA at ST-36 in Barrington's nucleus of the pons was also studied. EA at ST-36, but not BL-21, significantly increased the amplitude of motility at the distal colon. Calculated motility index of the distal colon was increased to 132+/-9.9% of basal levels (n=14, P<0.05). In contrast, EA at ST-36 had no stimulatory effects in the proximal colon. EA at ST-36 significantly accelerated colonic transit (GC=6.76+/-0.42, n=9, P<0.001), compared to EA atBL-21 (GC=5.23+/-0.39, n=7). The stimulatory effect of EA at ST-36 on colonic motility and transit was blocked by pretreatment with atropine. EA-induced acceleration of colonic transit was also blocked by the extrinsic nerve denervation of the distal colon (GC=4.69+/-0.33, n=6). The number of c-Fos immunopositive cells at the Barrington's nucleus significantly increased in response to EA at ST-36 to 8.1+/-1.1 cells/section, compared to that of controls (2.4+/-0.5 cells/section) (n=3, P<0.01). In conclusion, EA at ST-36 stimulates distal colonic motility and accelerates colonic transit via a sacral parasympathetic efferent pathway (pelvic nerve).


Patients With Mental Disorders Often Seek Complementary Treatment

Rickhi, B. et al. Mental disorders and reasons for using complementary therapy. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 48(7):475-9.

The authors compared patients with and without mental disorders who sought services from a complementary therapy practitioner in regard to quality of life, reasons for seeking complementary therapies, complaints, and physical conditions. Of the 826 new patients in the surveyed clinic, 578 (70%) presented with a mental disorder. Patients with a mental disorder perceived their quality of life as poorer and reported greater levels of stress than did those without a mental disorder. The groups did not, however, differ in their self-reported reasons for seeking complementary therapies, in their complaints or in their physical conditions. Among patients with a mental disorder, the major reasons for choosing complementary therapies were personal preference, interest or belief in complementary therapies (44.3%) and perceiving complementary therapies as a last resort (30.7%). Most patients with a mental disorder saw a complementary practitioner for musculoskeletal and connective-tissue disorders (44.1%), fatigue (26.6%) and headache (15.2%). The most frequent physical illnesses among patients with a mental disorder were diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (42.6%). Like their counterparts without a mental disorder, individuals with a mental disorder use complementary therapies because of personal beliefs. The wide use of complementary therapies among individuals with a mental disorder may be ascribed to a poor quality of life and high levels of distress.


Acupuncture for Managing Myofascial Pain and Headache

Audette, J.F. and Blinder, R.A. Acupuncture in the management of myofascial pain and headache. Current Pain and Headache Reports 7(5):395-401.

Acupuncture encompasses a host of healing techniques that have been practiced for more than 2000 years. Though many different techniques and styles are in use in the West, scientifically studying acupuncture’s effectiveness has proven problematic. This is partly because of the difficulty in studying a dynamic, patient-centered system whose practice paradigms often are artificially limited by the application of a reductionist methodology, which is dictated by the standards of scientific enquiry. However, acupuncture, unlike many indigent medical practices in the world, has withstood the test of time in China and in the West, with many practitioners and patients reporting real benefits for the conditions of headache and myofascial pain when treated by acupuncture. This review provides a brief overview of acupuncture and what is known of its effectiveness in treating headache and myofascial pain.

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This Month's Articles

November, 2005
Volume 3, Number 11

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Erectile Dysfunction

Prostate Health and TCM

Recent Research

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