Research Update- Acupuncture and the Urinary Bladder
Researchers at the China Academy of Chinese MedicalScience conducted a study to look at the effectiveness of treating urinary incontinence in women. Specifically, they were looking at mixed urinary incontinence that can be caused by sneezing, coughing and during exertion. The researchers studied 42 females with mixed urinary incontinence and used acupuncture combined with electroacupuncture for the study. Many of the subjects reported no urinary incontinence or less than two grams of urinary leakage after receiving the series of treatments. It was determined that acupuncture and electroacupuncture are viable solutions for the treatment of urinary incontinence and urinary bladder dysfunction. They also determined none of the participants in the study needed the assistance of pharmaceuticals or surgical procedures to achieve these results.
According to the World Health Organization, urinary bladder control problems affect nearly 200 million people worldwide. Women tend to be more likely to be affected by urinary bladder dysfunction than men. The most recent reports show more than 50 percent of older Americans struggle with urinary incontinence. This is just one of the many urinary problems that plague people all around the world. Urinary bladder dysfunction can mean anything from enuresis (urinary incontinence) to stones. Many of these illnesses are preventable and/or treatable with TCM.
The urinary bladder is part of the filtration system in the human body. The bladder stores and excretes urine from the kidneys and really only has this one function as an organ. However, in Traditional Chinese Medicine the bladder is viewed somewhat differently. As an energy system, the bladder is very closely related to the functions of the autonomic nervous system. The bladder energetic meridian runs along both sides of the spine from head to heel. The autonomic nervous system in TCM is responsible for the control of unconscious bodily functions, such as breathing and digestion.
Acupuncture, part of the nearly 3,000 year old medical system of TCM, has been shown in numerous studies to be effective at treating multiple urinary issues. Acupuncture elicits an autonomic response that applies a modulation effect on the nerves that control bladder function. Acupuncture has also been shown to positively influence the immune system, as well as the psychological well-being of the patient. This benefits the individual who might be suffering from urinary bladder issues.
The general premise of TCM and acupuncture is that when the energies of the meridian are not flowing properly, then something is out of balance. This can manifest as either an excess or a deficiency. Regardless of excess or deficiency, the energy has to be balanced for it to flow properly and allow the organ to function as it should. The acupuncture needles modify the flow of energy, creating balance and harmony.
It is recommended those suffering from debilitating urinary issues consider combining the use of both Western and Eastern medicine to achieve the best possible results. Always seek out a properly trained and fully licensed acupuncturist when considering TCM. Licensed acupuncturists will be qualified and trained to differentiate any bladder problems, while also assisting the patient in understanding what treatment options may be best for their situation.