Acupuncture points used in the prophylaxis against recurrent uncomplicated cystitis, patterns identified and their possible relationship to physiological measurements

Chin J Integr Med. 2016 Jul;22(7):510-7. doi: 10.1007/s11655-014-1988-y. Epub 2014 Dec 9.


Objective: To explore the correlation between single acupoints used and the recurrence rate of cystitis among cystitis-prone women receiving acupuncture as a prophylactic treatment.

Methods: In all, 58 cystitis-prone women were included in the analysis. Customised acupuncture treatments were given twice a week, over 4 weeks. The main effect parameter was the number of cystitis episodes during the 6-month observation time. Residual urine was measured at baseline, 2, 4 and 6 months using portable ultrasound equipment. Sympathetic and vagotone nerve activities were measured by using skin conductance and respiratory sinus arrhythmia, respectively.

Results: The main acupoints used for patients with Kidney (Shen) qi/yang deficiency were Shenshu (BL23), Taixi (KI3), Zhongji (CV3), Sanyinjiao (SP6) and Pangguangshu (BL28), compared with Taichong (LR3), CV3, BL28, Yinlingquan (SP9) and SP6 for Liver (Gan) qi stagnation, and SP6, CV3, BL28, Zusanli (ST36) and SP9 for Spleen (Pi) qi/yang deficiency patients. The combination BL23 and KI3 were used in 16 women, 13 of which were Kidney pattern related patients. When used, the number of symptomatic episodes were reduced to a third compared with what occurred in the 42 women where this combination was not used (3/16 vs. 28/42, P<0.05). BL23 application correlated to a significant reduction in residual urine measured a few days after treatment. Patients with the pattern of Spleen qi/yang deficiency had an initial increase in residual urine after treatments.

Conclusion: Treating Kidney pattern related patients with the combination of BL23 and KI3 resulted in far better outcome than other points/combination of points for other Chinese medicine diagnoses. The acupoint SP6 may be less indicated than previously assumed when treating cystitis-prone women prophylactically.

Keywords: Chinese medicine; acupuncture point; pattern identification; recurrent urinary tract infection; syndrome differentiation; women.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Cystitis / physiopathology*
  • Cystitis / prevention & control
  • Cystitis / therapy*
  • Cystitis / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Recurrence
  • Syndrome
  • Urinary Tract Infections / physiopathology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Urinary Tract Infections / therapy
  • Urinary Tract Infections / urine
  • Vagus Nerve / physiopathology