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Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Chronic Constipation

Published on 12th April 2017

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 396396, 11 pages.
Published online 2015 May 3. doi:  10.1155/2015/396396



Chronic constipation, an ancient disease, is prevalent, and costly in the general population. Complementary and alternative therapies are frequently used for constipation. This review introduces various methods of complementary and alternative therapies, including acupuncture, moxibustion, massage, and herbal medicine. Efficacy, safety, influence factors, sham control design, and mechanisms of these therapies are discussed and evaluated. Acupuncture or electroacupuncture was found to be most commonly used for constipation among these complementary and alternative therapies, followed by herbal medicine. Although only a small number of clinical studies are flawless, our review of the literature seems to suggest that acupuncture or electroacupuncture and herbal medicine are effective in treating constipation, whereas findings on massage and moxibustion are inconclusive. More well-designed clinical trials are needed to improve and prove the efficacy of the complementary and alternative therapies for constipation; mechanistic studies that would lead to wide spread use and improvement of the methods are also discussed in this review.


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