Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
1.6 million Americans have irritable bowel syndrome (IBD), which includes Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. These diseases cause chronic inflammation and damage the intestinal epithelial barrier, which acts as the first line of defense against toxins, antigens and non-beneficial bacteria; while allowing water, nutrients and electrolytes to pass. In Crohn’s disease the protein network that maintains this epithelial boundary in the form of tight junctions (TJ) breaks down. Once the foreign materials pass through they cause the immune system to react, but it can’t distinguish between the foreign invaders and itself.
A study published in the World of Gastroenterology found that the combination of acupuncture and Moxibustion decreased inflammation in mild to moderate cases of Crohn’s disease, and was able to repair the damaged intestinal epithelial barrier by increasing tight junction (TJ) proteins and their mRNAs.
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Here's a nice little video put out by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) promoting Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an intangible cultural heritage of China.
In August 2015, a study was published by a group of University of California researchers who were investigating the effectiveness of specific acupoints to reduce both systolic (top #) and diastolic (bottom #) blood pressure (BP) in patients suffering from mild to moderate hypertension.
The study participants were selected based on having a diagnosis of hypertension and not being treated with any hypertensive medications. The 65 patients who qualified for the study were split into two groups; 33 patients went into a treatment group, and 32 into a control group.
The treatment group received EA at acupoints (P5, P6, ST36, ST37) that have been found in past experiments to be effective at lowering BP. The control group received EA at acupoints (LI6, LI7, GB37, GB39), which have no stimulating affect on any cardiac regions in the brain, and are indicated for non-cardiovascular conditions.
After 8 weeks of receiving weekly EA treatments for 30 minutes, the researchers found that the treatment group obtained a significant reduction of 70% in both systolic and diastolic BP readings.
The effects of the treatment group lasted for 1 month compared to no reduction in the control group. The study findings also highlighted the mechanism by which EA was able to elicit an effect. There were substantial decreases in norepinephrine (↓41%), renin (↓67%), and a reasonable decline in aldosterone (↓22%); all substances that contribute to BP regulatation.
In conclusion, EA can be a useful therapy in lowering the risk of such cardiovascular diseases as: heart failure, myocardial infarction, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease in hypertensive patients.