Acupuncture may help relieve discomfort caused by indigestion, according to a group of researchers from China.
A four-week course of acupuncture relieved effects from postprandial distress syndrome, PDS, or meal-related fullness, according to the study published May 12 on Annals.org.
PDS is the most common subtype of functional dyspepsia, (FD) which is discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen, researchers wrote.
While acupuncture is often used to treat PDS, researchers said the effect was previously uncertain due to poor quality and small sample sizes of prior studies.
The researchers from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine said 278 participants were randomly assigned to acupuncture and sham acupuncture to study the overall treatment effect and elimination rate of three “cardinal symptoms”: postprandial fullness, upper abdominal bloating and satiation.
Sham acupuncture involves superficial skin penetration at nonacupoints. Licensed acupuncturists performed three 20-minute sessions of acupuncture and sham acupuncture on participants each week for four weeks.
The study population included Chinese patients aged 18 to 65 years old, and the trial was conducted between April 2017 and January 2019. Those who received acupuncture within one month before enrollment were excluded.
A total of 228 respondents completed outcome measurements at week 16, which showed an efficacy rate of 83 percent among the acupuncture group, and 51.6 percent among the sham acupuncture group — 27.8 percent and 17.3 percent, respectively, reported elimination of all three cardinal symptoms.
Researchers found after four weeks of treatment, the response rate in the acupuncture group “slightly increased” while the sham acupuncture recipients “decreased significantly.”
Researchers reported no adverse effects among study participants. Researchers also acknowledged that not all patients with PDS can afford such a treatment.