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Interstitial Cystitis and Chinese Medicine

There are two main kinds of IC in both mainstream and Modern Chinese Medicine, the ulcerating and non-ulcerating kind and the hot and cold type and five different levels. Each type can be quite different, in both symptoms and treatment needed. We use all your diagnostic information to work out which category you fall into.

Interstitial cystitis affects 500,000 people in the UK, who are told that there is no cure for it and that they must live with it. Patients have often been on an exhausting route visiting GPs, urologists and gynaecologists.

For whatever reason, IC does not appear to respond well to mainstream approaches.


Mainstream treatment for IC

Medication (Elmiron etc, antidepressants, aspirin and ibuprofen)

Bladder Distension
May provide 2-6 months of relief in 20-30% of cases

Bladder Instillation
The bladder is filled with a solution that is held for a few seconds to 15 minutes, either as a wash or containing medication.

Surgical Procedures

Sacral neuromodulation has been shown to be effective in controlling symptoms in some people with interstitial cystitis. A device is implanted that allows for electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves in the sacral (lower back) area.

Other surgical procedures that may rarely be performed to treat severe interstitial cystitis include peripheral denervation (disrupting the nerves to the bladder wall), bladder augmentation to increase bladder capacity, and cystectomy (bladder removal) with diversion, or re-routing, of urine flow.



  1. Chang PL, Wu CJ, Huang MH. Long-term outcome of acupuncture in women with frequency, urgency and dysuria. Am J Chin Med 1993;21(3-4):231-6. A significant increase in capacity occurred after acupuncture in 52 women with 85% reporting an improvement in frequency, urgency and dysuria and symptoms (229). However, at follow-up at 1 and 3 years, these effects were no longer detectable and the authors concluded that repeated acupuncture was necessary to maintain beneficial effects.
  2. Zheng H, Wang S, Shang J, Chen G, Huang C, Hong H, Chen S. Study on acupuncture and moxibustion therapy for female urethral syndrome. J Tradit Chin Med 1998;18(2):122-7. In a non-randomized comparison in females with urethral syndrome, 128 patients treated by acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine were compared to 52 patients treated by Western medicine as controls. Efficacy rates and urodynamic parameters were significantly better in the Chinese Medicine group.
  3. Thiele massage as therapeutic intervention for female patients with interstitial cystitis and high-tone pelvic floor dysfunction. Oyama IA, Rejba A, Lukban JC, Fletcher E, Kellogg-Spadt S, Holzberg AS, Whitmore KE. Modified Urology 2004;64(5):862-5.
  4. Clinical Management of Interstitial Cystitis. Vol. 4 Suppl. 1 Reviews in Urology.  Herbal tea and pills have been used to treat IC patients who were referred for herbal therapy as offered as a treatment alternative. A pilot study utilised the herbs in a tea twice a day for 6 days a week for 3 months, then once a day. Of 25 patients, 61% had a significant decrease in pain at 4 weeks, and an additional 22% had a significant response at 3 months



Maria, Dalston

“I had suffered from back pain (sciatica) for 8 years on and off. During a particularly painful episode I decided to try acupuncture and i really can’t recommend it enough – I had six treatments with Ross over six months ago and I haven’t experienced any back pain since.”

Cinnamen, Shoreditch

“For years I have suffered neck pain, back pain, migraines and felt constantly tired and drained, but after a few sessions of acupuncture with Ross the migraines have finally stopped, and my day to day working life has become so much easier. I highly recommend Ross as a skilled practitioner. He has been a wonderful support also for the emotional stress that is a result of my years of pain.”

Jan Quinlan, Surrey

Could I please request a bottle of you magical tincture for the bladder. My condition is a 1000x time better but it is just for those occasions when I feel I need a little extra help alleviating any niggling discomfort.


Fixed from physical pain, fixed emotionally, more energy, perspective and the will to get back up and live another day. This may all sound very big but it's what happens... there are other days when I just need a "top up" and that works fantastically too! So what ever you are going through from a bit of tiredness to a life crisis I