I never really like acupuncture studies because it is pretty much impossible to create an inert placebo. The entire body is covered in acupuncture points so there is never a true placebo. In fact the NIH will no longer funding acupuncture studies that use placebo. Acupuncture should be compared to standard of care as that is where it really shines.
With that said I do need to mention this well designed study that showed acupuncture and moxibustion can reduce active Chron’s symptoms Personally I do find that it can also help with chronic cases during remission phases and reduce the quantity of medication. It has been known that acupuncture can have a modulating effecting to the cells that balance the immune system and this study showed that in Chron’s acupuncture does indeed balance the Treg modulating cells. Likely by having the modulating effect on the immune system acupuncture can also repair the tight junction proteins and reduce the damage to enterocytes in CD.
AIM: To evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of acupuncture and moxibustion for the treatment of active Crohn’s disease (CD).
METHODS: Ninety-two patients were equally and randomly divided into the treatment group and received herb-partitioned moxibustion combined with acupuncture, and the control group received wheat bran-partitioned moxibustion combined with superficial acupuncture. The patients received three treatment sessions per week for 12 wk and were followed up for 24 wk. The main outcome was evaluated using the CD Activity Index (CDAI) score, and the secondary outcomes were evaluated using laboratory indicators such as hemoglobin (HGB), C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate, quality-of-life, endoscopic ratings, and intestinal histology scores.
RESULTS: The CDAI scores of both the treatment and control groups were significantly reduced after treatment compared with those measured before treatment. However, the degree of improvement in the treatment group was significantly greater than that of the control group. The improvement in symptoms in patients of the treatment group was sustained at follow-up, whereas that of the control group was not. The overall efficacy of the treatment was significantly greater than that of the control. Both groups demonstrated significant improvements in quality-of-life ratings after treatment, but the improvement was significantly greater in the treatment group than in the control group. In addition, the patients in the treatment group showed significantly increased HGB and significantly decreased CRP levels and histopathological scores at the end of treatment, whereas the control group did not exhibit significant changes.
CONCLUSION: Moxibustion with acupuncture provided significant therapeutic benefits in patients with active CD beyond the placebo effect and is therefore an effective and safe treatment for active CD.
Bao CH1, Zhao JM1, Liu HR1, Lu Y1, Zhu YF1, Shi Y1, Weng ZJ1, Feng H1, Guan X1, Li J1, Chen WF1, Wu LY1, Jin XM1, Dou CZ1, Wu HG1. Randomized controlled trial: moxibustion and acupuncture for the treatment of Crohn’s disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Aug 21;20(31):11000-11. PMID: 25152604. [PubMed] [Read by QxMD]
Joos S1, Brinkhaus B, Maluche C, Maupai N, Kohnen R, Kraehmer N, Hahn EG, Schuppan D. Acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of active Crohn’s disease: a randomized controlled study. Digestion. 2004;69(3):131-9. PMID: 15114043. [PubMed] [Read by QxMD]
Zhao C1, Bao C1, Li J2, Zhu Y3, Wang S1, Yang L4, Shi Y1, Liu H1, Dou C1, Ding G5, Wang X1, Wu H1. Moxibustion and Acupuncture Ameliorate Crohn’s Disease by Regulating the Balance between Th17 and Treg Cells in the Intestinal Mucosa. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:938054. PMID: 26347488. [PubMed] [Read by QxMD]
Shang HX1, Wang AQ1, Bao CH1, Wu HG1, Chen WF1, Wu LY1, Ji R1, Zhao JM1, Shi Y1. Moxibustion combined with acupuncture increases tight junction protein expression in Crohn’s disease patients. World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Apr 28;21(16):4986-96. PMID: 25945013. [PubMed] [Read by QxMD]
Wei K1, Zhang D2, Hong J2, Zhang C2, Feng X2, Huang Y3, Liu J2, Wu L2, Wu H2, Ma X2. Herb-Partitioned Moxibustion and the miRNAs Related to Crohn’s Disease: A Study Based on Rat Models. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:265238. PMID: 25810742. [PubMed] [Read by QxMD]