Case Studies

Acupuncture for Acne: Clinical Case Study with HRV

Kristen Sparrow • April 14, 2015


statue of Kuan Lin
Kuan Lin
Goddess of Compassion
“She who hears the cries of the world”

This turned out to be a pretty good illustration of some of the issues I’m exploring with stress monitoring (HRV) as a function of acupuncture treatment.
This is a patient late 30’s who has had some upheaval in her personal life, but healthy and fit by most metrics.  Her most pressing problem at the initial visit was adult acne.  She was getting deep cystic blemishes leading to scarring.  She was getting at least one new blemish a week.
There are a few things that make this case a nice illustration. 1. She has come in consistently. 2. Except for one or two visits, I was able to get a good HRV tracing (not always the case.)  3.  She had/has a well defined problem with well defined metric of improvement. (Blemishes more or less?)  She has had good clinical results with acne having resolved, at least for now.  There are other issues we’re dealing with as usual in clinical practice, but for now, her number 1 issue is gone.
Here is what her data look like.  As you can see, her stress response would spike with needling, but then decline below baseline by the end of the session.  What we also see is an overall decrease in her stress levels over time as a whole.  There, as always, is a fair amount of noise in the data, but when you can get enough decent data over time with enough treatments to make a difference, the case is easier to make.  Treatment points below

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