Chronic Prostatitis and Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome

Effective Acupuncture Treatments for Chronic Prostatitis and Pelvic Pain: Understanding the Benefits and What to Expect

Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome

Acupuncture is an effective therapy in the treatment of Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS), offering relief from pain, improvements in sexual function, and a reduction in urinary issues. This holistic practice works by diminishing inflammation, harmonizing hormone levels, enhancing circulation, and triggering the release of the body’s inherent painkilling chemicals.

In the following sections, I’ll guide you through the mechanisms by which acupuncture addresses CP/CPPS, present evidence from clinical studies validating its benefits, and delve into the customized treatment strategies I design for individual patient needs.

Chronic Prostatitis

CP/CPPS Symptoms and Causes

Men experiencing Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS), or Chronic Prostatitis Category III, endure a range of discomforts including pelvic pain, difficulties with urination that may be painful, frequent, urgent, or challenging, as well as issues with sexual function. This pain, which can vary from sharp to mild, typically originates in the pelvic floor, genitals, lower back, or lower abdomen, and can significantly disrupt daily living, leading to depression, missed opportunities in work and education, and strained relationships.

The origins of Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome remain largely elusive, likely resulting from a multitude of factors. Although initially believed to be linked to bacterial infections causing inflammation, many sufferers report symptoms in the absence of any infection. Some individuals develop CPPS following a prostate infection, whereas others have never had such an infection. Furthermore, while some exhibit ongoing inflammation, others show no signs of such a condition.

Beyond its physical toll, CPPS inflicts considerable emotional stress, affecting one’s career, personal relationships, and overall well-being.

Many scientists and clinicians, including myself, believe that the most common and significant cause of CP/CPPS is referred pain from muscle tightness and trigger points in the pelvis and back.

This is because most patients with CP/CPPS have muscle tightness in the pelvis, pelvic floor, back, abdomen, and legs. The gluteus maximus and medius, adductor magnus, iliopsoas, and rectus abdominis (among others) very commonly refer to pain in the pelvic floor and genitals.

Acupuncture: An Ancient Treatment for CP/CPPS

Acupuncture provides a holistic approach to healing and is an effective treatment to relieve pain, improve sexual function, and decrease urinary problems associated with Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. Acupuncture’s 3000 years of history could make it one of the oldest and most used treatments for Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome of all time. 

This traditional technique addresses CP/CPPS by adjusting neural pain pathways, reducing inflammation, and promoting circulation. (1) 

Enhanced Pain Relief

Acupuncture stimulates the release of the body’s own opioids and enhances the functionality of pain-relieving opioid receptors. This not only brings about significant pain alleviation but also instills a sense of relaxation during the treatment. 

Reduces Inflammation

The role of acupuncture in combating inflammation is particularly relevant to CP/CPPS sufferers. Research indicates that acupuncture can significantly lower the levels of inflammatory markers in the bloodstream and reduce the production of proinflammatory cytokines, which are key players in inflammation. By influencing a range of cytokines, acupuncture contributes to dampening the inflammatory response associated with CP/CPPS, thereby easing symptoms like pain and swelling.

Increases Circulation

The enhancement of microcirculation through acupuncture is important for CP/CPPS patients. Improved blood flow helps to reduce oxidative stress—an imbalance that can exacerbate inflammation and tissue damage. Acupuncture’s ability to relax muscle spasms is another benefit, offering relief from the pelvic tension and discomfort frequently experienced in CP/CPPS.

Reduces Bladder Symptoms

Acupuncture’s positive effects extend to regulating bladder function, a significant concern for those with CP/CPPS. It addresses symptoms of urgency, frequency, and discomfort during urination, providing a holistic approach to managing the urinary aspects of the syndrome.

In essence, acupuncture presents a synergistic and holistic treatment modality for CP/CPPS, targeting the condition’s multifactorial nature. This approach not only addresses the physical symptoms but also contributes to the overall well-being of individuals affected by CP/CPPS, offering a promising and effective alternative to conventional treatment options.

CP/CPPS Clinical Research

A recent clinical trial, including more than 400 participants supports that acupuncture is an effective treatment for CP/CPPS. (2) The Participants were divided into two groups: one receiving genuine acupuncture and the other receiving sham acupuncture, over 20 sessions across eight weeks, with a follow-up period extending to 24 weeks post-treatment. 

The study showed a significant difference in response rates between the acupuncture group and the sham acupuncture group at both the end of treatment and the 24-week follow-up. Specifically, 60.6% of the acupuncture group were responders at week 8, compared to 36.8% in the sham group. This response was sustained at week 32, with 61.5% of the acupuncture group still showing significant symptom improvement compared to 38.3% in the sham group. Notably, the study also reported a low incidence of adverse events, indicating that acupuncture is a safe treatment option for CP/CPPS.

This trial presents strong evidence supporting the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture as a treatment for CP/CPPS, with benefits lasting up to 24 weeks post-treatment. 

What to Expect 

The acupuncture treatment for Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS) is a comprehensive and individualized approach that targets the underlying imbalances contributing to the condition. Rather than just alleviating the symptoms, acupuncture aims to correct the underlying imbalance bringing about long term improvements. Here’s an outline of what patients can expect during an acupuncture treatment course for CP/CPPS:

Initial Consultation

At the outset of your initial visit, a comprehensive evaluation will be undertaken, encompassing a detailed medical history and physical examination. This assessment will pay particular attention to acupuncture points and muscular trigger points, which are crucial in understanding the specific imbalances contributing to your condition.

We want to address a whole person’s understanding of your well-being, including pain, changes in urinary function, sexual health, digestion, energy levels, and sleep patterns. By integrating these facets, we aim to pinpoint the root cause of your discomfort, facilitating a pathway toward natural healing and restoration of balance within your body.

Developing a Tailored Treatment Plan

Based on the diagnostic findings,  I will devise a customized treatment strategy that may include a combination of acupuncture, electric acupuncture and tui na (acupressure or therapeutic massage). Additionally, Chinese herbal medicine plays an important role and may be recommended to complement your treatment plan, tailored specifically to address your unique needs and imbalances. The goal is not only to alleviate symptoms but to target and rectify the underlying imbalances, thereby activating the body’s intrinsic healing capabilities.

Acupuncture Sessions

A typical course of acupuncture treatment varies in frequency and duration, usually involving sessions once or twice weekly. During each session, fine needles are inserted at specific points along the body’s meridians to unblock Qi flow, alleviate pain, and improve urinary and sexual function. I may also use techniques like electroacupuncture, where a mild electric current is passed through the needles, to enhance the treatment’s effectiveness, as well as trigger point release. The typical acupuncture session is 45-60 minutes. 

Duration of Treatment Course

The length of the acupuncture treatment course for CP/CPPS varies, generally spanning three to four months. This duration allows sufficient time for the therapy to address not only the symptoms but also the root cause of the condition, promoting lasting relief and recovery.

Many patients experience a notable improvement in their symptoms shortly after commencing treatment, with significant relief often reported within the first month. The process of healing can be likened to the gradual peeling of an onion layer by layer, each step bringing you closer to addressing the fundamental cause of your ailment. This methodical approach ensures that the outcomes are not merely temporary fixes but offer long-lasting relief, effectively minimizing the recurrence of symptoms for a sustained period of health and well-being.

Monitoring Progress and Adjustments

Throughout the treatment course, I will monitor your progress and reactions to the treatment, adjusting the treatment plan as necessary to ensure optimal outcomes. This may involve modifying acupuncture and trigger points, adjusting the type of stimulation, or altering the frequency of sessions.

Safety and Side Effects

Acupuncture stands out as a safe, comforting, and minimally invasive option for individuals seeking relief from CP/CPPS.  The side effects associated with acupuncture are infrequent, and are considered generally mild and transient, reflecting the non-invasive nature of this therapy. The most commonly reported side effect is minor bruising at the needle insertion sites. This bruising is typically superficial and resolves on its own within a few days without requiring any specific treatment.

Another side effect some patients may experience is soreness in the muscles around the areas where the needles were inserted. This sensation is akin to the muscle aches felt after a vigorous workout and usually dissipates within a short period, further attesting to the body’s natural healing process being activated.

Occasional lightheadedness upon rising from the acupuncture table is also noted in some cases. This is generally brief and can be mitigated by getting up slowly and sitting for a moment before standing. 

Acupuncture offers a profoundly relaxing experience and is a very enjoyable experience. Many patients find themselves entering a deeply relaxed state or even falling asleep during sessions. This relaxation is beneficial, not only promoting mental and emotional well-being but giving the body time and space to heal.  

Get Acupuncture, Feel Better!

Acupuncture is a compelling and holistic treatment option for Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS), marrying the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine with modern therapeutic needs. Its safety profile is exceptionally favorable, characterized by rare and minor side effects, making it an attractive choice for relieving pain and inflammation from Cp/CPPS.. Beyond merely alleviating symptoms, acupuncture dives deep into the root causes of CP/CPPS, endeavoring to restore balance and promote the body’s inherent self-healing capabilities.

Please call us at 212-319-5757 to make an appointment or you can schedule your appointment online


  1. Wu X, Cheng K, Xu C, Liu S, Sun Q, Yang Z, Dai X, Li N. Mechanism of Acupuncture and Moxibustion on Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome: A Narrative Review of Animal Studies. Pain Res Manag. 2021;2021:2678242. doi: 10.1155/2021/2678242. PMCID: PMC8674039. PMID: 34925658.
  2. Sun Y, Liu Y, Efficacy of Acupuncture for Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2021 Oct;174(10):1357-1366. doi: 10.7326/M21-1814. Epub 2021 Aug 17. PMID: 34399062.

Feedback From our clients…

I went to Joseph Alban after suffering from severe pelvic pain and prostatitis. Through acupuncture, I discovered that there is indeed a link between the mind and the body. The treatments have helped me tremendously in terms of treating the pain and the anxiety. I now do not I have constant debilitating pain. Joseph is very knowledgeable, a great teacher and a patient person. I would recommend him to friends and colleagues.

~ D.F. Manhattan