Medical Research

Acupuncture, Hypertension and HRV

Kristen Sparrow • August 30, 2014

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

A recent paper by Litscher looking at the laterality of LI 11 and effect on HRV.  They see a decrease in LF/HF in the first 5 minutes after needling.  This seems to be what I’m finding also, now that I am measuring HRV pre-treatment.  I am trying to determine if point prescription makes any difference, but I can’t quite get a pattern…

Hypertension is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease worldwide. Over 70% of the patients use antihypertensive drugs, so nonpharmacological treatments in addition to the medication are important. Our goal was to investigate acupuncture treatment on the Quchi acupoint using heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) and to find out whether there is a laterality in acute effects. Sixty hypertensive patients (36 female, 24 male; mean age 55.8 ± 9.7 years) were randomly assigned to two manual needle acupuncture groups (group A: left Quchi (LI11) acupoint, group B: right Quchi acupoint). There was a significant (P < 0.05) decrease in HR immediately after inserting and stimulating the needle at the left and the right Quchi acupuncture point. In contrast, total HRV increased immediately after inserting the needle, but this increase was significant only towards the end of the stimulation phase and after removing the needle. There were some differences between stimulation of the left and right Quchi acupoint, but they remained insignificant. This study provides evidence that there is a beneficial effect on heart rate variability in patients with hypertension and that there are some effects of laterality of the acupoint Quchi.