photo fo a woman clutchin her stomach
Non-invasive electro-acupoint stimulation could help reduce Crohn's disease symptoms

Electro-acupoint stimulation – a new approach to Crohn’s disease?

23 June, 2015

Natural Health News — Daily electroacupuncture to stimulate an point on the stomach meridian could help to reduce the intestinal inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease.

Chinese and US researchers presented early evidence from from their study of this non-invasive therapy at a recent meeting of the International Neuromodulation Society 12th World Congress.

The small study recruited 17 Crohn’s disease patients and 20 matched individuals without Crohn’s between June 2014 and December 2014. The patients received transdermal acupoint electrical stimulation (TAES) for an hour twice a day, two hours after a meal, at an acupoint on the stomach meridian below the knee – the Zusanli (ST 36).

What you need to know

» Electric stimulation of acupuncture points in non-invasive and does not involve needles

» Chinese and US researches report that stimulating a point along the stomach meridian can help reduce signs of inflammation in Crohn’s sufferers.

» Animal studies have shown similar results.

Data from humans and animals

Co-author Jiande Chen, Ph.D. of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, said:

“We have published numerous studies showing that electrical stimulation via the acupuncture points using surface electrodes can enhance vagal activity,” he commented. “By enhancing vagal activity, we have shown in animals with intestinal inflammation that such electrical stimulation can suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines and thus reduce inflammation.”

In the clinical study, the patients received the electrical stimulation through a watch-sized battery powered stick-on device. The needle-less stimulation device can deliver a variety of stimulation digitally, and was developed by Chen through a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Rebalancing the nervous system

For the first three days, stimulation was administered at the hospital, and then the patients were instructed in use and placement of the stimulator and sent home.

Results suggest that the treatment can help balance the function of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems resulting in less inflammation.

Previous studies of acupuncture treatment of Crohn’s have shown that acupuncture and moxibustion treatment improved symptoms and reduced the biological markers of inflammation more than a sham acupuncture/moxibustion treatment.