Acupuncture for Gastroparesis

I serve as a volunteer expert on a number of websites for individuals looking for answers about health and Chinese medicine. Sometimes there is a question which I think would interest a lot of my readers. If you have a question about Chinese medicine, please feel free to e-mail me.

Question: I have diabetes and have been tested for the GP and found to be retaining more than 30% of my food after four hours. I was taking Zelnorm which seemed to help but that has been withdrawn. Now I am on Reglan but my bowels seem to get unstable with it severe diarrhea followed by severe constipation. I have recently been dxd with my second colon infection also felt to be due to the Reglan. I am looking for something which may help me move my food a little faster. I have tried increasing fiber as well as water but neither seem to do any good. I believe many of my medications are getting caught up in my stomach and not being dispersed and I am actually getting overdoses on many of them. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.



Thank you for your question. I understand you are in a difficult situation.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be very effctive for improving gastric motility and the treatment of constipation. Because acupuncture is a holistic medicine, it works to help improve overall health.

Acupuncture is not a one size fits all treatment. Each patient is diagnose individually. So I cannot tell you an herbal formula or an acupuncture point which may necessarily help. That can only be done after an examination which includes various questions, taking the pules, and looking at the tongue.

I have significant experience with gastroparesis and can tell you that acupuncture is very helpful for this issue.  Many research studies have shown that acupuncture and electroacupuncture stimulate gastric motility.

Acupuncture can also help by boosting the body’s energy and getting rid of the heat. From a western science perspective, we’re not completely sure how it works. But it may help by “waking up” the nerves in your digestive tract and reminding your brain how to digest well.

I recommend you find an acupuncturist in your area who also is trained in Chinese herbs. Herbs can be very effective for constipation as well. Your practicioner will be able to research if there are known herb drug interactions for their formula.


Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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