Also known by its medical name of Dyspepsia, or commonly as indigestion or heartburn.
Important to know: Chronic health conditions should be addressed under direct medical supervision of your GP or consultant, and acupuncture would be an adjunct or complement to usual care – we advise that you let you doctor know when you use this approach.
About the research: It is worth noting that in research, randomised controlled studies (RCT) are the most reliable in terms of quality of evidence, with a systematic review or meta analysis of numerous studies being the best way of seeing the overall picture of the state of the evidence. Below we have a selection of the available research, which does include some larger RCTs, and reviews of the literature alongside smaller studies. The n= figure tells you how many people were participants in the study.
The British Acupuncture Council has a Research digest where they have looked at some more recent studies including on Dyspepsia, including a 2-arm trial where the refractory functional dyspepsia patients were seen to experience improvement in symptoms for up to two months, with no adverse side effects (n=200) (Zheng et al, 2018). An RCT in Korea (n=76) looked at functional dyspepsia as well as other quality of life related measures, finding a significant improvement in FD symptoms for up to 8 weeks in the acupuncture group (Ko et al, 2016).
A meta-analysis of 16 RCTs (n=1436 total) found positive results both for symptoms and quality of life, albeit that the quality of the research was low in many cases in the trails they examined, but further high quality RCT studies are needed to corroborate the trends (Pang et al, 2016).
British Acupuncture Council evidence based factsheet about Gastrointestinal Issues including specific research, trials and mechanisms of action for acupuncture in this condition.
British Acupuncture Council Research Digest – Dyspepsia https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/6558-research-digest.html (just over halfway down the document)
Ko, S.J., Kuo, B., Kim, S.K., Lee, H., Kim, J., Han, G., Kim, J., Kim, S.Y., Jang, S., Son, J. and Kim, M., 2016. Individualized acupuncture for symptom relief in functional dyspepsia: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 22(12), pp.997-1006.
Pang, B., Jiang, T., Du, Y.H., Li, J., Li, B., Hu, Y.C. and Cai, Q.H., 2016. Acupuncture for functional dyspepsia: what strength does it have? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016.
Zheng, H., Xu, J., Sun, X., Zeng, F., Li, Y., Wu, X., Li, J., Zhao, L., Chang, X.R., Liu, M. and Gong, B., 2018. Electroacupuncture for patients with refractory functional dyspepsia: a randomized controlled trial. Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 30(7), p.e13316.