Acupuncture to the abdomen, boosted by an electric current, helped relieve severe constipation, a new study found.

Chinese researchers studied 1,075 patients with severe functional constipation, which means they were unable to have a complete bowel movement more than twice a week. The study subjects all reported a number of unpleasant symptoms, including hard stools, a sensation of incomplete evacuation and often needing to strain when going to the bathroom. They were randomly assigned to receive either a form of acupuncture or a sham procedure, according to the report published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.