Medical Research

Animal Studies Corroborrate My HRV Studies

Kristen Sparrow • March 24, 2009

This blog entry is hardly of broad interest, but it pertains to the studies that I’ve done.
My own research has looked at the effect of acupuncture on the autonomic nervous system, or stress response. ( Analysis of Heart Rate Variability in Acupuncture Practice: Can It Improve Outcomes?MEDICAL ACUPUNCTUREVolume 19, Number 1, 2007Kristen Sparrow, MD) What I found is that in patients who responded (i.e. got better) from acupuncture, had a decrease in their stress response during treatment. This was corroborated in an article published last year by Baecker.(Acupuncture in Migraine :Investigation of Autonomic Effects Clin J Pain Volume 24, Number 2, February 2008)

I am quite interested in this recent article because it was performed on rats and showed that electroacupuncture applied at Stomach 36 but not Bladder 21 resulted in a decrease in the stress response in restrained rats.

There are so many variables in the clinic setting that it is difficult to have confidence in the results at times. This animal study confirms my findings and that just might be meaningful.
Excerpts of the study follow.
(For more information about my practice, please click here.)

Electroacupuncture Improves Imbalance of Autonomic Function under Restraint Stress in Conscious Rats.
Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(1):45-55
Imai K, Ariga H, Takahashi T.
Department of Surgery, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA

Acupuncture may modulate the imbalance of the autonomic nervous system. It is well known that restraint stress delays gastric emptying via inhibiting parasympathetic activity and/or stimulating sympathetic activity in rats.
EA at ST-36 significantly reduced the elevated heart rate and LF, compared to that of control group. EA at ST-36 also significantly increased HF component after finishing the stress loading. In contrast, EA at BL-21 had no significant effect on the heart rate, LF and HF. It is suggested that EA at ST-36 stimulates parasympathetic activity and inhibits sympathetic activity under the restraint stress in rats.