Acupuncture Services in London

Acupuncture for Gallstones

How Does Acupuncture Help Gallstones?

Acupuncture can help in the treatment of Gallstones by:

  • Providing pain relief - by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987; Zhao 2008).
  • Reducing inflammation - by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007;Zijlstra 2003).
  • Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the Ďanalyticalí brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry (Hui 2010; Hui 2009).
  • Increasing the release of adenosine, which has antinociceptive properties (Goldman 2010);
  • Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling


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    Acupuncture for Gallstones Research

    Most of the randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in this area relate to acupuncture used as an adjunct to lithotripsy, and there is evidence that it may reduce anxiety and sedative/analgesic drug requirements (Miyaoka 2009).

    It was found to provide more effective analgesia than pethidine and diazepam in one trial (Hodzic 2007) and to be at least as good as midazolam in another (Resim 2005). Likewise, acupuncture may be a useful addition for cholecystectomy (Gu 2010).

    One controlled study showed a significant advantage for electroacupuncture over medication for stones in the upper urinary tract (Lin 2005). Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.

    Acupuncture for Gallstones References

    Lin Q et al. Electro-acupuncture treatment for the upper segment ureterolithiasis under B-ultrasonography. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 2005; 25: 13-5.

    Lewis K, Abdi S. Acupuncture for lower Gallstones: A review. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2010; 26(1)(pp 60-69)

    Goldman N et al. Adenosine A1 receptors mediate local anti-nociceptive effects of acupuncture. Natural Neuroscience 2010; May 30.

    Hodzic J et al. Analgesia with acupuncture in extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy of Gallstones--first results [Article in German]. Urologe A. 2007; 46: 740, 742-4, 746-7.

    Resim S et al. Effectiveness of electro-acupuncture compared to sedo-analgesics in relieving pain during shockwave lithotripsy. Urol Res. 2005 Aug;33(4):285-90. Epub 2005 Jun 22.

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