Acupuncture can be used as part of a comprehensive approach to treating complex gastrointestinal disorders. The effect of acupuncture on gastrointestinal function has been extensively studied by scientists, mostly reported in Asian literature. Pilot studies in English have shown that acupuncture is effective in a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
There is often a strong link between stress and gastrointestinal disorders, so acupuncture can be an effective treatment option. For upper gastrointestinal problems such as chronic heartburn and acid reflux, acupuncture appears to be more effective than doubling the dosage of antacid medication, according to a 2007 University of Arizona study.