Some studies suggest that acupressure may help relieve constipation. Many studies claim that acupuncture can have the same effect. However, there are limitations in this research.

Constipation involves infrequent, often difficult bowel movements.

It is a common childhood condition, affecting around 29.6% of children worldwide. Constipation can occur for many reasons, including dehydration, lack of dietary fiber, and the use of some medications.

There are many ways to treat constipation. This article looks at whether pressure point-based therapies can help with constipation. It also outlines other treatment options for constipation.

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Traditional Chinese medicine derives from the belief that triggering certain pressure points around the body offers health benefits.

However, there is mixed evidence that pressure point therapy can help with constipation. Acupuncture and acupressure are two different types of pressure point therapies.

During an acupuncture session, a specialist places very fine needles into various pressure points. In contrast, acupressure involves the use of fingers to stimulate pressure points.


Some research suggests that acupressure can improve constipation symptoms.

A small 2019 randomized, double-blind control trial involving 70 participants undergoing dialysis suggests that acupressure may serve as an effective complementary therapy for constipation.

Another small 2023 randomized clinical trial looked at the effect of acupressure on the ears, which doctors call auricular acupressure, in older adults. The study involved 53 residential care home residents with chronic constipation. Researchers concluded that auricular acupressure had a positive effect on constipation symptoms and quality of life.

However, the small sample size of each study makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions from the results.


There are similar issues in the quality of research into acupuncture for constipation.

A 2013 systematic review points out that research on this topic involves small sample sizes and methodological problems.

Additionally, a more recent 2022 review notes similar inconsistent evidence.

Ultimately, more research is necessary on the effects of pressure point-based treatments for constipation.

There is little evidence to suggest that acupressure can cause adverse effects.

There are some risks involved with acupuncture therapy because the technique involves needles. Possible side effects of acupuncture include:

  • infection
  • bleeding
  • nerve damage

There are many ways to relieve constipation, such as:

  • increasing dietary fiber
  • drinking more water
  • eating more wheat bran, oats, or linseed
  • not waiting to pass stool
  • passing stool at regular times
  • increasing physical activity

If these lifestyle changes do not help with constipation, people can try laxatives, which make it easier to pass stool. Some are available over-the-counter (OTC), though doctors may also prescribe laxatives.

A person with chronic constipation or constipation that does not improve with OTC laxative use needs to consult a healthcare professional.

In some cases, constipation may have a serious underlying cause, such as a bowel obstruction.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that people seek immediate medical attention if they have the following symptoms alongside constipation:

  • rectal bleeding
  • bloody stool
  • persistent abdominal pain
  • trouble passing gas
  • fever
  • lower back pain
  • vomiting
  • unexplained weight loss

People with a family history of colon or rectal cancer should also speak with a doctor if they develop constipation.

Lifestyle changes, such as drinking more water or eating a high fiber diet, can help with constipation. Laxatives may also provide relief.

Some people believe that pressure point-based therapies can help improve constipation. However, the research to support this is limited.