Magazine 13 May 2024

Can cystitis be treated with acupuncture? Let’s have clarity

My dear friend,

If you are familiar with cystitis, it is likely that you have inquired about the various and possible remedies, and now want to satisfy a new curiosity.


Does it really work?

In short yes, it could be used as an additional remedy in some specific cases.

In this article we will see which ones.

Acupuncture for cystitis: does it really work?

The role of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the treatment of cystitis

Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder that causes:

  • pain;
  • Painful urination, often in small amounts;
  • frequent burning;
  • heaviness in the lower abdomen;
  • In the case of hemorrhagic cystitis, presence of blood during urination.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, cystitis is related to the water element, whose organs and viscera are the kidney and bladder. The function of the bladder is the transformation and excretion of fluids, together with the energy (Qi) of the kidney. If the kidney is energy deficient, it will not be able to take care of sending it to the bladder, so it will be Qi deficient.

What does that mean?

It means that the energy of the water element will not be able to flow and the above symptoms will appear. If more pungent symptoms appear, they are generally heat-related: in fact, cloudy urine and a feeling of heaviness indicate the presence of stagnant moisture.

An acute infection may be due to a fullness syndrome of heat with moisture or cold with moisture, depending on the symptoms. If infections are chronic, they may be due to a deficiency of energy in the kidneys or spleen, which also plays an important role in overall energy (Qi) production.

Okay, but what does acupuncture have to do with it?

According to Eastern medicine, this treatment aims to treat hot or cold spots and dampness and, if necessary, treat the underlying kidney or spleen to prevent recurrent cystitis.

But so does it really work? Let’s find out together.

Read also: Cystitis and back pain: a problem that plagues many women

Cystitis and acupuncture: how it works and why it might be a good solution

As we anticipated, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine a healthy person has a protective layer called ‘Wei-Qi.’

If this Qi is not strong enough, cold from outside enters the body.

And what happens?

Some people get colds, others develop bladder infections.

Cold weather can also cause bladder infection from within, such as through poor nutrition. If other organs are too weak, it is common for them to cool the bladder through excess water.

Highly emotional people can get bladder infection because of excitement and stress, but also because of positive feelings. This is the so-called heat of the heart, which is discharged to the lower part of the body through the small intestine.

But so how does an acupuncture session work? 🤔

In a preliminary interview with the physician or an alternative practitioner, the individual cause of cystitis is determined before proceeding.

Depending on the trigger, treatment varies from patient to patient. However, there are classic points that are almost always ‘acupunctured’.

For example, in the lower part of the abdomen, exactly in the center above the pubic bone, is the bladder alarm point, which helps manage the causes of cold and heat; on the outside of the foot runs the bladder conduction pathway, which is also located on the back, along the spine. At the level of the sacrum is the bladder consensus point.

These points and areas are also increasingly marked with the small needles. Pain itself is always a blockage, this also applies to bladder infections; cold and heat cause blockage of the body’s energy pathways.

So, the purpose of acupuncture is to dissolve these barriers.

For some patients the bladder infection disappears completely after just one session, while others experience improvement only after the third treatment, with the understanding that it is still necessary to evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

In fact, acupuncture can be an excellent supplement when combined with individualized therapy.

It would be wrong for me to tell you that acupuncture taken in isolation can treat cystitis-I reiterate, this treatment can be effective when combined with a therapy designed specifically for the person concerned.

A therapy that includes good hygiene standards, a balanced diet, and products for treatment and prevention.

But that is not all.

It appears, in fact, that this treatment is also effective in treating interstitial cystitis.

Acupuncture and interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is a chronic health condition that causes bladder and urination disorders.

It is a bit like living with a urinary tract infection all the time: constant pain and discomfort. This condition mostly affects us women, making us feel the urge to urinate and creating a burning sensation and pain in the lower abdomen, bladder and urethra.

If you have been through this before, you know that it is a condition that is anything but pleasant.

Western medicine offers drugs that can sometimes provide relief but often have unpleasant side effects.

In short, since the causes of this type of cystitis are currently unknown, there is not even a targeted remedy, except for helpful tips to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms.

But let’s come to it: what is the role of acupuncture in all this?

Treating interstitial cystitis with acupuncture would dramatically reduce the symptoms: not only the pain and burning sensation, but also the frequency and urgency to urinate.

As with many chronic conditions, interstitial cystitis often worsens in waves. These flare-ups, where symptoms become much more intense, tend to be triggered by increased stress, emotional or physical.

In this sense, acupuncture would act to reduce the frequency, duration and intensity of flare-ups.

Anyway, should you have any further concerns regarding your cystitis-beyond this treatment-remember that you can always write to me, I am here for you. 🥰

I give you a big hug,


Read also: What is hemorrhagic cystitis? All you need to know

In this article we talked about…

  • Acupuncture is one method that would appear to reduce the pain associated with cystitis.
  • This is a complementary method that can be accompanied by specific therapy for one’s type of cystitis.
  • Acupuncture also appears to be an effective method for interstitial cystitis.

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