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Esther Holford and Toni Tucker
This paper investigates the aetiology, pathology, diagnosis and treatment of interstitial cystitis (IC) from the
perspective of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and evaluates the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of
IC through a survey of 52 patients (28 respondents) who received both Chinese and Western medical treatment.
The study’s findings show that acupuncture was perceived to be very effective in treating IC, reducing symptoms
of pain, frequency, urgency and nocturia by around half. Three-quarters of the patients studied also reported that
acupuncture helped their emotional state. The study showed that respondents had a much higher incidence of
immune-related functional conditions than occur in the general population, suggesting that IC is not isolated to
the bladder but is part of a wider problem that affects the whole body. Although this study provides insight into
IC, it has obvious limitations and is therefore intended to be indicative rather than definitive, and will be used as
a foundation for future research in this area.
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