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Randomised controlled trial
Abdominal electroacupuncture demonstrates an increase in complete spontaneous bowel movements
  1. Deepti Jacob,
  2. Priya Vijayvargiya,
  3. Michael Camilleri
  1. Mayo Clinic Rochester, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr. Michael Camilleri, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Rochester, MN 55905-0002, USA; camilleri.michael{at}

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Commentary on: Liu Z, Yan S, Wu J, et al. Acupuncture for Chronic Severe Functional Constipation: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med 2016;165:761–9.


Chronic idiopathic constipation has been reported in ~11% of south Asian populations.1 Pharmacological agents, such as the 5-HT4 receptor agonist, prucalopride, result not only in increased spontaneous bowel movements (SBMs) but also in increased adverse events in the Asian population.2 Therefore, alternative therapies are being researched. Multiple abdominal points (‘acupoints’) have been associated with stimulation of parasympathetic nerves (ST25, ST37, BL25, ST36 and TE6).3 A recent report evaluated the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) applied at ST25, SP14 and ST37 on severe chronic constipation (CC) in a randomised controlled trial (RCT).


This was a randomised, parallel, sham-controlled trial comparing EA with …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.