Acupuncture-based modalities: Novel alternative approaches in the treatment of gastrointestinal dysmotility in patients with systemic sclerosis

Hanaa Sallam, Terry A. McNearney, Jiande D.Z. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Background The gastrointestinal (GI) dysmotility of systemic sclerosis (SSc, scleroderma) patients requires careful evaluation and intervention. The lack of effective prokinetic drugs motivate researchers to search for alternative treatments. Objectives We present an overview of the pathophysiology of SSc GI dysmotility and the advances in its management, with particular focus on acupuncture-related modalities and innovative therapies. Data sources Original research articles were identified based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guideline methodology. We have searched the MEDLINE database using Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) for all English and non-English articles with an English abstract from 2005 to October 2012. Results Only four original articles of various study designs were found studying Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies for SSc patients. Despite the small patient study numbers, CAM treatments, acupressure, and transcutaneous electroacupuncture, showed self-reported and physiologic evidence of improvement of GI functioning and/or symptoms in SSc patients. Conclusions CAM therapies include experimental modalities with the potential to offer relief of symptoms from GI dysmotility. Larger studies are needed to investigate their optimal use in patient subsets to tailor therapies to patient needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalExplore: The Journal of Science and Healing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014



  • acupuncture
  • gastric electrical stimulation
  • Gastrointestinal motility
  • sacral nerve stimulation
  • TENS
  • transcutaneous electroacupuncture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • Nursing(all)
  • Chiropractics
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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