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The effect of acupuncture on the gastoinestinal tract is one of its important therapeutic effect documented in records. It was found that acupucntrue could cure gastric ulcer by promoting ulcerative union. Acupuncture alleviates injury of gastric mucosa, improves symptoms of atrophic gastritics and bacillary dysentery. The mechanism by which acupuncture improves these conditions is unknown.

A recent study published by Zhang et al revealed that needling “zusanli”(ST36) can dramatically increase the blood flow to the stomach. Fifty-six healthy adult Wistar rats were used in the study, with 20 in the acupuncture group, 18 in the eletronic acupuncture group and 18 in control group. The acupuncture needle (32#) was inserted at bilateral ST36 and manipulated for one min and retained for 10 min without or with connection to stimulation electordes. The blood flow to the stomach was monitored using laser doppler blood perfusion imaging system with gastric tussue exposed by lontigudinal incision below the xiphoid rprocess.

After acupuncture, the blood perfusion in the stomach increased significantly. The maximum increase of the blood perfusion was found at 10 min after acupuncture and remained high 10 min after ceasing acupuncture. The increase in perfusion was higher in electronic acupuncture group than acupuncture group. By contrast, the blood perfusion in the stomach in the control group tended to decease.

This study provide evidence that acupuncture improves gastointestinal perfusion which will increases nutrition, metabolism and anti-inflammatory substances to the diease-affected part promoting healing process.


Zhang D, Li S, Wang S and Ma H. Evaluaiton of influence of aucpuncture and electro-acupuncture for blood perfusion of stomach by laser doppler blood perfusion imaging. Evidence-Based Complementary and alternative medicine 2011:969231