A new study concludes that acupuncture needling combined with moxibustion improves the condition of patients with refractory interstitial cystitis, a urination bladder disorder. Interstitial cystitis involves chronic bladder region pain that is often accompanied by urinary urgency, frequency and the need to wake at night to urination. Moxa needles were applied to acupuncture points over the sacrum and patients experienced significant improvement in the condition.
The preselection for the study sorted for difficult cases of interstitial cystitis that did not respond to conventional biomedical procedures. The patients had already been treated with conventional treatments including pharmaceutical medications, hydrodistension, and intravesical instillation of dimethly sulfoxide without relief of symptoms. Once the refractory cases were identified and screened, acupuncture was applied to acupoints UB32 (Ciliao), UB34 (Xialiao) and UB33 (Zhongliao). Moxibustion was applied to the needles at UB32 and UB34. Electroacupuncture was applied to UB33 at 3 Hz. As a result of the beneficial clinical outcomes, the researchers conclude that “this study suggests that acupuncture and moxibustion treatment may be a complementary and alternative therapeutic option for refractory IC (interstitial cystitis).”
Acupuncture Shop Talk
Acupuncture points UB32, UB33 and UB34 are located over the 2nd, 3rd and 4th sacral foramen respectively. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles, all three acupuncture points regulate the lower jiao (burner) and strengthen the lower back and legs. Common indications for use of these points includes lower back pain, irregular menstruation, leukorrhea, hernia and orchitis. All three acupoints are meeting points of the Bladder and Gallbladder channels. UB32 is indicated for the treatment of painful urination and urinary dysfunction. UB33 is indicated for the treatment of difficulty with urination, painful urination and urinary retention. Along with treating urinary dysfunction, UB34 is also beneficial for the treatment of defecation disorders.
Katayama, Y., K. Nakahara, T. Shitamura, S. Mukai, H. Wakeda, Y. Yamashita, K. Inoue, K. Nose, and T. Kamoto. "[Effectiveness of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Therapy for the Treatment of Refractory Interstitial Cystitis.]." Hinyokika kiyo. Acta urologica Japonica 59, no. 5 (2013): 265-269.