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Can Acupuncture Help Ulcerative Colitis? One Dad Thinks So!

A big good day to all of you following the website and to over 15,000 people who subscribe to the free newsletter group.

Thank YOU for taking a moment to check in and give a quick read to this story.  I received an email earlier today.  It came from a father of a UC’er who has some positive experiences with some alternative treatments.  Below is the message, copy and pasted(thank you to the father who have me permission to share this with everyone!)

Adam, My son has had UC for about 10 years and we have gone down the same path that everyone else has with GI docs, diet and medicines that do not work. His life was miserable. My wife is treated by an acupuncturist and she happened to mention my son’s Ulcerative Colitis. He said he has treated many patients with UC and has had good success. So, our son went in for a treatment. After the first treatment he said he felt better than he has for years. He has been in remission for over almost a year and seems to have a normal life. He still watches what he eats but for him acupuncture is a godsend. He moved to take a different job and of course the UC was a big fear. In his new location, he tried a different acupuncturist that did not work out at all. However, his old acupuncturist recommended another therapist which got my son’s UC immediately under control. So, while this is only one person’s experience, my recommendation for UC patients is to talk with some acupuncture practitioners in their area and find several that actually have had success in treating UC and you may need to try 2 or 3 but this effort is worth it. good luck to everyone, Chuck

Acupuncture Can This Help Ulcerative Colitis Yes/No/Maybe So…

Once again, a big thank you for reading this story so far, and an incredibly big thank you to Chuck for sending me the email above this morning.

I’m very interested to hear from others with regards to Acupuncture.

What do other people think about Acupuncture as a UC treatment or partial treatment?

Is this a treatment that has helped others?

Has anybody had an experience with acupuncture where you felt it made your colitis symptoms worse?

If you take a look through PubMed, the online database of scientific studies, there is VERY little about acupunture.  And, unfortunately, two separate studies which are listed, which look like they would be very relevant, do not have any text to support them…(they are these below)


  • Chen Z. Treatment of ulcerative colitis with acupuncture. J Tradit Chin Med. 1995;15:231–233. [PubMed]
  • Zhang X. 23 cases of chronic nonspecific ulcerative colitis treated by acupuncture and moxibustion. J Tradit Chin Med. 1998;18:188–191. [PubMed]

OK, please let me know what you think, and have a great weekend, more good stuff coming up this year,

Adam Scheuer

***If you have tried acupunture, and would like to let us know what the results were for you, PLEASE write a comment below about your experience, it would be MUCH appreciated!!

And one last final big thanks to Chuck for writing in, and after I replied originally to him with the request to publish his email, he wrote back with this final message:

I sent this little story in to give others an additional avenue to try, so go ahead and publish it.  As we learned, the first acupuncturist we tried was great.  But the next one was not and the 3rd was great.   I think the key is to ask the practitioner upfront if he has had success with multiple patients treating UC.

32 thoughts on “Can Acupuncture Help Ulcerative Colitis? One Dad Thinks So!”

  1. I have been seeing an acupuncturist since October and am doing 150% better than I was on western medicine!! I tried Lialda, Pentasa, steroids and last Humira. I was so sick, weak, anemic and totally exhausted. I felt like I was dying! My acupuncturist saved my life! I will never go back to western medicine! Next up-get off my blood pressure meds!

  2. Regarding Acupuncture and UC.. before I was diagnosed, I was seeing someone who was treating me and was a TCM Master (Traditional Chinese Medicine). I believe it helped to keep my symptoms at bay. So did the herbs he gave me. I can’t afford to see him anymore. Funny, I stopped going, my UC got diagnosed and bad, the meds are draining my pockets and bank account and I can’t afford Acupuncture. So.. I think there may be something to it if you see the right person, absolutely.

  3. I’m following! I’d love to get off of my biologic- Remicaid.
    I’m battling with my GI about alternative methods.
    He’s not game.

    1. Shelly, I receiveaccupuncture in addition to my Humira and the generic asacol. I also take omega 3, magnesium, vitamin, B &D. I’m not in remission, but I’m heading in the right direction.

  4. Acupuncture was the one thing that really helped me. Western medicine did nothing for me. Chris I was similar to you. I have a child on the autism spectrum and because of him I researched different methods of holistic and alternative healing. Diet made a big difference for me but acupuncture was the single most important thing I did for myself. I went faithfully every week for two years. I now just go to acupuncture from time to time.

  5. My son has lived with crohns for over 13 years. About three years ago when he switched from Children’s to adult GI the first appointment – the GI wanted to cut the inflamed colon. At that point we went from very high dosages of prednisone, remicade and prepared for the new drug Entyvio. Nothing seemed to work. Remicade worked in the past but stopped after 2.5 years. So we included alternative: chiropractor with laser to heal the gut and work on the vagus nerve. Acupuncture, Meyer’s cocktail when he had colds. Meditation and functional Physical Therapists. He has been in remission for over 2.5 years working full time and continuing his acupuncture, PT and Entyvio. He had an abscess and the GI thought he would have a fistula. We think the abscess was unrelated. He was on iv antibiotics while in the hospital and then oral which he thinks has made him feel better.
    Point being the vagus nerve is being studied in Europe and it is the longest nerve and may be well into correcting the functioning of his body. He still has his gut, working, eating well and sometimes not. And I have seen where crohns comes back in a fury so I don’t want to jinx his good fix. But does anyone else know about vagus nerve studies and inflammatory bowel disease? I think acupuncture, FUNCTIONAL PT’s (work on visceral). Meditation, Diet works. Thank you all for your stories

  6. I know it’s a lot to ask for but it would be nice to see the plan of action published that the successful Accupuncturist is using. What techniques are they using ? Where are all the penetration points etc? Do they give u herbs after each visit? What herbs ? How often must u go ? If this really works the Accupuncturist s needs to spread the word regarding their secret sauce or formula. I’m surprised it’s not plastered all over the internet or why aren’t they advertising more they can treat UC? Yes I’m skeptical but not opposed to learning more.
    I am was not able to manage my symptoms effectively enough with pre biologics with lialda and azasan good enough. Now I’m on humira and it’s a game changer for me. Still have to manage my symptoms but it’s a lot easier to do with Humira no more blood mucus and good stools for the most part. Urgency does happen at times but I try my best to manage that. My GI still has me on lialda as well. And take VSL3 2 pills daily.

    1. Chuck- I am an Acupuncturist. One could never publish such a plan of action. That beauty of Chinese Medicine is that is recognizes the individual. For example, if you had 10 patients that came in with Migraines to a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, they would each have a different (Eastern) diagnosis and would ALL be treated differently. Each would be prescribed herbs according to their patterns and organ imbalances and each would have a different point prescription, with different techniques. One person might have an excess condition, the other deficient. One might have “cold” and one might have “heat” patterns etc. It’s an entirely different language and system, and one that takes a minimum of years to really learn. Hope this helps.

  7. Joe H

    Wow! I am so blessed. I just learned yesterday (1/27/17) that I can receive free acupuncture treatment and Thi Chi instructions. I just joined a medical group focused on health care for seniors, called Jencare and Chencare. I didn’t even think it could be used to help UC. I was interested in treating foot and back pain. I have my first appointment in Feb. and I hope the acupuncturist knows how to treat the UC. I’ll be sure to let you know the results.
    Joe in Hampton, VA

  8. I read everything Adam sends, as I’ve had UC for 20 years now. Yup, 20. Diagnosed at 15, now 35. I was a dance major in college until my UC hit hard and my Asacol regime wasn’t cutting it. But steroids, biologics etc I simply refused to do. I got very interested in Acupuncture as I experienced great relief from anxiety from it. So, I decided, upon barely finishing under-grad, to go to grad school for Acupuncture. People don’t realize that Acupuncture school is a graduate program. It took me 4 years to complete my Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine. Did you know that Acupuncture school is now considered a Medical school and the cost is no less than $100,000? I am in debt $170,000 from Acupuncture school. I simply say this because most people think Acupuncturists go to school for as long as massage therapists do or something and I want to educate people on our experience. (Believe it or not, it is have Western half Eastern. I literally had internships at hospitals following MD’s around, reading charts, taking pharmacology, learning how to interpret the Western diagnosis into an Eastern Diagnosis.) I struggled all through school with my health, refusing drugs…praying every treatment I got from teachers(top Asian MD’s straight from China) that my UC would remain at bay. It did not. Now, it did sometimes help with nausea…..thats easy. It’s called “rebellious qi” in Chinese Medicine. A few standard points send the Qi right back down where it belongs. It’s really quite simple: electronics of the body. Its just not as magical or mystical as some people think. It’s more scientific than anyone realizes. Anyway, what helped me the most was Chinese Herbs, among other things….diet, supplements etc. Chinese herbs work faster and harder than Acupuncture. In fact, I designed a Chinese Herbal enema that stops bleeding very quickly, great for UC patients where the rectum is really effected (proctitis). Also a formula that stops bleeding higher up. And a formula that will make your nausea and/or cramping go away within 30 minutes. These are priceless adjuncts to ANY other treatment, protocol or diet one is doing. My website will be live in just a few months. I’m sorry to say, I’ve read all the studies regarding Acupuncture and UC, and not just the ones from the US. Ones straight from China that my teachers provided. To be quite honest, Acupuncture has a very low success rate in treating UC. Herbs, however, have a very high success rate. Of course the combination of the two is best, as they support each other. In China they almost exclusively treat IBD with herbs…yes, occasional Acupuncture to support. I have a very hard time believing the above testimony….and I’m an Acupuncturist! Of course anything is possible though right? And clearly I am over the moon happy for anyone in remission, regardless of how they got there! I have an entire practice where I specialize in Digestive issues. I treat many people in my area with UC with great success. I use a combination of Chinese Herbs, Functional Medicine, diet/lifestyle therapies and lastly, Acupuncture. If nothing else, the needles help with the emotional and spiritual aspects of the illness for SURE. My UC is under control, no drugs, and I simply couldn’t live without Chinese Herbs and I am very soon going very live to share all this ancient knowledge. If I have a mission statement in my practice it is that healing is VERY INDIVIDUAL! What works for Jane may not work for Joe. Maybe Joe needs something different, according to his own blueprint. However, I do know that UC is Completely controllable naturally, if one were to choose this route. Indeed it is much harder and takes much more discipline, but the reward is that you are not taxing your body with pharmaceuticals and masking the root causes/issues. I respect everyone’s journey whole heartedly. My gifts and what I have to offer is helping IBD’ers stay in remission drug free, if they desire it. In conclusion, I would never recommend Acupuncture as a solo modality for treatment. That would be dangerous. But definitely go experience that and the power of Chinese Herbs in combination with whatever your doing if you have not yet done so. You will not regret it. Please if you have any questions regarding this modality, feel free to email me. I am not sure if I am allowed to write my email on here, but I’m sure Adam could send it to you if you want it. I love connecting with other UC’ers. Cheers to Healing!!!

    1. Karen,
      I’ve had UC for 10 years, tried aasacol, humira, remicade & am currently on entyveo. I’ve also been on & off presnisone for about 3 yrs now. I’m currently in a flare up and at the end of the rope with drugs. Can you contact me regarding acupuncture & chinese herbs, I am interested in trying it.
      Thanks in advance,

    2. Sungazer

      Hey all,
      I have UC too for 7 years and now just finishing my 4 year course in Acupuncture. I have found it so effective which is why i chose to study. I can even do it to myself and stop a flair up quite quickly. I take herbs too.

      Karen is right, there is no formula or point prescription that is going to work for everyone. Just to add to what Karen said – the reason why it works for some and not others is probably down to correct TCM diagnosis by the practitioner. If the practitioner doesn’t quite see the full pattern of disharmony correctly then the treatment won’t be ideal for that particular patient. Another practitioner may nail the diagnosis and so offer a better treatment.

      Good luck

    3. Karen

      It is great to hear your accupunturist point of view. I was diagnosed back in 2012 and spent 2 years in remission following scd diet, supplements, and accupuncture 2 to 3 times a month. Very interested in Chinese herbs as a way to heal my colon and I have had some flares since having my baby 17 mos ago. Can you share a sample of Chinese herb protocol for someone beginning to take herbs for first time?

    4. Hi Karen, your post was very interesting given your first hand experience and knowledge of both UC and Acupuncture – Chinese Herbal medicines. I am a UCer for 10+ years. Have gone through prednisone (as high as 60mg). Even though it helped my GI has stopped it due to side-effects and now on Humira + Apriso + as needed Uceris foam. Humaira helped first 6 months. Since then UCERIS is needed to keep flare in control. But no full remission yet. I am beginning with Acupucture soon .. reading your post I want to explore Chinese Herbal Enema as well.

      Would appreciate if you share your email so I can seek further information.

    5. Hi Karen,
      Thank you for sharing on it wonderful information. I too have had UC for 22 years and I’m on the last approved medication, entivyo, at this point. I would love to know more about the Chinese herbs and acupuncturists in my area.

      I’m assuming from what people are saying insurance is not cover acupuncture, is that correct for the most part? I am wondering if there is a list of acupuncturists as a resource similar to when you look up doctors.

      Thank you again. Do you think I could reach out to you personally with a few questions?

    6. Thanks to all who posted and shared their experience with UC. Adam, thank you for this amazing website!
      I would definitely like to get more information on those Chinese herbs mentioned above. I was diagnosed with UC 3 yrs ago when I had my 5th child but feel like I had it my whole entire life. It truly sucks the life out of me. I was placed on prednisone for few months then on lialda 4 pills tapered to 3,2,1 used Manuka honey 3x a day, was more or less on remission for a month or two with no meds until it all came back with vengeance. I started acupuncture 4 sessions so far no positive results just an empty pocket from the cost of it, I am still very hopeful it will help me in few more sessions. I have to see my GI doc next week for his recommendations. I can use any advice to fight these miserable painful flare ups. Karen, please share your email address for info on Chinese herbs. Thanks to all and G-D bless.

  9. Hello,could you please tell me what chinese herbs to use, I have had colitis for over 30 years, currently I’m on 4800mg asacol and 100mg immuran I’m still having to go about eight times a day.
    Thank you for your help

  10. Thanks to the father who has shared such a motivating story of his son who got healed thru Acupuncture and ofcourse thanks to Adam for his website…Acupuncture has shown miraculous results curing UC (You read it right its CURE).There are many evidences which shows UC can be cured permanently..From last week i have started treatment at Pune,India..The practioner is experienced one and he is giving me Acupuncture with Sujok..One thing I came to know from him is there is a therapy called Ozone therapy and it helps in AUTOIMMUNIO condition.If someone has gave a try to Ozone therapy please share the experience.
    Below is the link of Amarjit Narula sir who got cured of his chronic UC.

  11. Thank you for sharing this information. Karen, it’s wonderful that you’re focusing on UC/digestive issues– what a gift for the IBD world :) I look forward to reading more about acupuncture and herbs.

  12. I tried t wo different forms of Acupuncture several years ago for my U.C. (
    Chinese and French-Indo Viet Nam ) and they both offered some initial relief but required MANY more treatments ( I went to both 10 times ) and was just way too expensive to continue going. There was no long term relief. I also volunteered at an Acupuncture school for the students to practice on and that was absolutely no help at all. I have tried Acupuncture for Arthritis and that seemed to work but again no long term cure.
    I would try again if it were affordable and from someone that was highly recommended.

  13. I was diagnosed in November 2015 and was able to quickly go into remission after a course of prednisone. I stayed in remission for 8 months, then my area got flooded, my mom ended up in ICU with breathing trouble and job stress increased about 200%. Not surprisingly– I went into a flare in Setember and have not been able to get it under control despite 2 courses of prednisone. My MD wanted to go to Entyvio, but I asked him to scope (to see the extent of the disease- at diagnosis it was only left sided and rectal) and that I was consulting a Chinese Medicine specialist. I am a healthcare provider myself and I know the Western mind set about TCM. My doc was supportive and after the scope showed no advancement of the disease I pursued Chinese medicine with the full knowledge of my healthcare team. I am currently getting accupuncture and herbal medicine. The first concoction seemed to calm a lot of my symptoms and ease the urgency, but I still have a lot of mucus and blood. I discussed this with him, as well as the fact that blood pressure was increasing. I am starting a new combination of herbals today and will update in a couple of weeks. I would encourage anyone to utilize every option in the arsenal to find what works best for you.

  14. I was diagnosed with colitis almost five years ago. Initially I was able to get reasonable remission with 3 Lialda a day, at one point was able to reduce it to 2 per day. However, about three years ago I experienced a flare that did not improve when I upped my dose to 4 Lialda a day. The next step was Predinisone and potentially immunosuppressants and I was quite opposed to going down that path. My mother encouraged me to see a naturopath who, after I failed to properly follow a restricted, cleansing diet suggested I try acupuncture. Bless her…My acupuncturist put me in remission. Colitis in most cases will require a maintenance program, but to me it is well worth it as following a high maintenance, restrictive diet is too hard for me at this point. Because acupuncture in one-on-one private practice is cost prohibitive for many, I would recommend looking for community acupuncture providers that often offer treatment for as little as 25% of what I was paying for it initially. I have also found some success curbing mild flares with wheat grass juice powder, and am currently preparing my own bone broth which I consume daily. It has now been about 8 months since my last notable flare and I have only been consuming 2 Lialda a day in that time. Since starting the bone broth program I have continued to notice improvement in my vitality, a much reduced desired for sugar, and less bloating, cramps and gas than I’ve had in years. As each year goes by, my hope grows that the right supplements and acupuncture may eventually get me symptom free and off of medication.

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