Acupuncture Application in Chronic Kidney Disease and its Potential Mechanisms

Am J Chin Med. 2018;46(6):1169-1185. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X18500611.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an increasing major public health problem worldwide. The number of CKD patients on hemodialysis is growing rapidly as well. Acupuncture technique is one of the traditional Chinese medicine methods and has been used in a variety of diseases. Nowadays, the clinical application of acupuncture technique for CKD patients has become the focus for its effectiveness and security. In this paper, we will review the therapeutic effects and mechanisms of different acupuncture techniques for CKD patients. In patients with CKD, acupuncture improves renal function, reduces proteinuria, controls hypertension, corrects anemia, relieves pain, and controls many hemodialysis-related complications such as uremic pruritus, insomnia and fatigue. The mechanisms are related to the regulation of sympathetic nerve and the activation of bioactive chemicals. In conclusion, acupuncture is proved to be beneficial for CKD patients. More research, however, is needed to verify the potential mechanisms.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Chronic Kidney Disease; Hemodialysis; Review; Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy* / methods
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Anemia / therapy
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Pain Management
  • Proteinuria / etiology
  • Proteinuria / therapy
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Pruritus / therapy
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy
  • Sympathetic Nervous System
  • Uremia / etiology
  • Uremia / therapy