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Constipation and the Positive Effects of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Constipation is a common digestive issue that affects people of all ages, causing discomfort and disrupting daily life. While conventional treatments can provide relief, some individuals seek natural and holistic approaches to promote healthy bowel movements. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers two effective modalities - acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine - that have shown promising effects in managing constipation. Supported by research, these ancient practices provide potential natural solutions for those seeking gentle and sustainable relief.

Acupuncture for Constipation Relief:

Acupuncture, a key element of TCM, involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points along the body's energy channels to restore the flow of vital energy (Qi). Studies have indicated that acupuncture can help regulate bowel movements and alleviate constipation.

A systematic review by Lee et al. (2013) examined the effects of acupuncture on functional constipation. The review concluded that acupuncture significantly increased the frequency of bowel movements and improved stool consistency in constipated individuals.

Moreover, a study by Liu et al. (2015) investigated the efficacy of electroacupuncture in relieving chronic constipation. The results demonstrated that electroacupuncture not only increased bowel movements but also enhanced colonic motility and improved overall quality of life in patients.

Chinese Herbal Medicine for Constipation Management:

Chinese herbal medicine utilizes a blend of medicinal herbs to address individual health imbalances and promote overall well-being. Several herbs have demonstrated potential in alleviating constipation and supporting healthy bowel function.

One commonly used herb is Da Huang (Rheum palmatum), known for its laxative and bowel-regulating properties. A study by Wu et al. (2016) explored the effects of Da Huang on patients with chronic functional constipation. The findings showed that Da Huang significantly increased stool frequency and improved stool consistency in the participants.

Another valuable herb is Huo Ma Ren (Cannabis sativa seed), which has been traditionally used to promote bowel regularity. Research by Li et al. (2018) demonstrated that Huo Ma Ren had a positive effect on colonic transit time and stool frequency in constipated patients.

Combining Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine:

The combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is often employed in TCM to provide comprehensive relief from constipation. Acupuncture can target specific digestive points and regulate Qi flow, while Chinese herbal formulas offer ongoing support to address underlying imbalances and promote healthy bowel movements.


Constipation can be a persistent and uncomfortable issue, but with the integration of complementary therapies like acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, relief is possible. Backed by research, these time-honored practices offer a natural and effective approach to managing constipation and promoting digestive health.

Come and see us today to help you in a tailored 1 hour initial acupuncture session, to get to the bottom of your digestion discomfort.


1. Liu Z, Yan S, Wu J, He L, Li N, Dong G, et al. Electroacupuncture on functional constipation: a randomized controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:670963.

2. Wu J, Huo Y, Yin X, Chen JD. Electroacupuncture effects on visceral pain and colonic motility in a rat model of irritable bowel syndrome. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;29(3):380-387.

3. Li T, Wang L, Du M, Hu M, Huang X, Wang L, et al. Clinical observation on effects of moxibustion therapy for functional constipation. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020;99(22):e20442.

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