New research finds that acupuncture relieves digestive impairment due to stress. This finding suggests that acupuncture is an effective modality for the treatment of functional dyspepsia (indigestion). Dyspepsia usually involves pain of the upper abdomen, bloating and sometimes nausea, heartburn and belching. Dyspepsia is also linked to GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Researchers measured that acupuncture “significantly restored the occurrence of gastric phase III” to dogs exposed to stress. Electroacupuncture to St36 (Zusanli, Stomach36) restored gastric phase III after stress induction had impaired this phase of digestion. Application of UB21 did not restore gastric phase III. Electrocardiography was used to measure the high and low frequency heart rate variability (HRV) bands of dogs exposed to acoustic stress (AS). The HRV was used as a measurement of sympathetic and vagal activity and AS was administered in the form of very loud music. The researchers concluded that electroacupuncture at “St36 may increase parasympathetic activity” as a functional mechanism for restoring the “impaired gastric phase III contractions in stressful conditions.”
Hiroshi Taniguchi, Kenji Imai, Kirk Ludwig, and Toku Takahashi. Medical Acupuncture. March 2012, 24(1): 43-49. doi:10.1089/acu.2011.0832.