Acupuncture point selection for treating inflammatory bowel disease

Objectives: To analyze the rules of acupoint selection and compatibility of acupuncture and moxibustion in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) based on complex network technology and provide the reliable evidences for acupoint selection in treatment of this disease with acupuncture and moxibustion.

Methods: The clinical studies on acupuncture-moxibustion treatment of inflammatory bowel disease were searched from the databases including CNKI, Wanfang, VIP, PubMed and Embase. The studies were screened and the acupoint prescriptions were extracted to set up the database of acupuncture-moxibustion treatment for inflammatory bowel disease. Using Microsoft Excel 2021 software, the use times of acupoint, the use frequency (%) of acupoint, meridian tropism and the use of special point were imported. With SPSS Modeler 18.0 software adopted, the association rules were analyzed on the acupoint prescriptions. The acupoint co-occurrence network diagram, k-core network diagram, and community analysis diagram were drawn by Gephi 0.9.5 software.

Results: A total of 156 studies were included, composed of 175 acupoint prescriptions, 75 acupoints, with 1 378 use times in total and around 8 acupoints in one prescription. Regarding the top use frequency, Tianshu (ST25), Zusanli (ST36), Guanyuan (CV4), Zhongwan (CV12) and Pishu (BL20) were listed. The top meridians involved were the foot-yangming stomach meridian, the foot-taiyang bladder meridian and the Conception Vessel. The front-mu point had been used with the highest frequency among the special points. ST36 and ST25 were a pair of points with the highest frequency in treatment. The k-core hierarchical analysis was adopted to optimize acupoint prescriptions, and 22 core acupoints were obtained, i.e. ST25, ST36, CV4, CV12, BL20, Dachangshu (BL25), Shangjuxu (ST37), Shenshu (BL23), Qihai (CV6), Sanyinjiao (SP6), Mingmen (GV4), Xingjian (LR2), Yinlingquan (SP9), Neiting (ST44), Taichong (LR3), Xiajuxu (ST39), Shuifen (CV9), Shenque (CV8), Ganshu (BL18), Weishu (BL21), Hegu (LI4) and Quchi(LI11), which were classified into three core acupoint groups by community analysis.

Conclusions: Through complex network analysis, it is found that the local acupoints on the chest and abdomen are generally selected in treatment with acupuncture-moxibustion for inflammatory bowel disease, the combination of the nearby and distal points is considered simultaneously, and the acupoint prescription is modified according to syndrome/pattern differentiation;and among special points, the front-mu point is widely used in treatment. All of these rules provide the ideas for the acupoint selection of acupuncture-moxibustion in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.


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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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