According to the World Health Organization, urinary bladder control problems affect nearly 200 million people worldwide. There are a couple factors that tie into who may have bladder dysfunction. For instance, women and AFABs (assigned female at birth) are more likely to be affected than men and AMABs (assigned male at birth). Age may also play a role: recent reports show more than fifty percent of older Americans struggle with urinary incontinence. There are many urinary problems that plague people around the world.  Urinary bladder dysfunction can mean anything from enuresis (urinary incontinence) to bladder stones.

Person holding hands in front of abdomen/bladder

Many of bladder issues are preventable or treatable.

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 (TCM), 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 is responsible for the control of the unconscious bodily functions, such as breathing and digestion.

So, how can you improve bladder function?


A study conducted by the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine has demonstrated acupuncture may hold promise in treating urinary incontinence. The study incorporated two different treatment protocols. The first used just acupuncture alone and the other used acupuncture plus electrostimulation. The results varied, but were positive in both trials. There was a 54 percent total efficacy rate in the trial that utilized acupuncture only and an 86 percent efficacy rate in the trial that used acupuncture plus electrostimulation. This holds great promise for those suffering from chronic urinary incontinence. 

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture, part of the nearly 3,000 year old medical system of TCM, has been shown in numerous studies to be effective at treating urinary issues. Acupuncture elicits an autonomic response that applies a modulation effect on the nerves that control bladder function. It 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. 

Placing acupuncture needles on patients lower back

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. There are over 400 acupuncture points on the body and 67 of those exist on the bladder energetic meridian alone. This makes it one of the most commonly used meridians in TCM and it is used to help treat various different conditions.

It is recommended that 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 licensed acupuncturist when considering using 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. 

Integrative Acupuncture is here to help you improve bladder functions! Contact us with any questions or schedule an appointment online today!