The topic of vagal tone is key to our understanding of stress and HRV. We’ve looked at acupuncture and GI motility (upper and lower) before. In this study, they looked at auricular acupuncture (AA) , somatic/body acupuncture (SA)and its effect on GI motility and HRV in rats. HRV did not appear to be influenced by AA, SA nor atropine, but keep in mind this is in animals.
Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec 4.
Effect of auricular acupuncture on gastrointestinal motility and its relationship with vagal activity.
Li H, Wang YP.Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Jiangsu Province Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, , Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.
The GI transit rate increased in both the AA and SA groups compared with control, and no significant difference was found between their effects. In addition, after atropine administration, AA was found to be ineffective in influencing the GI transit rate. In the HRV analysis, no significant differences were found in the absolute low frequency normalised units, high frequency normalised units or the low frequency/high frequency component ratio in the AA or SA groups compared with control. After administration of atropine AA still had no effect on HRV.
The function of AA in improving GI motility is similar to that of SA, and this effect can be blocked by the presence of atropine, indicating that this effect is regulated by the vagus. However, HRV did not reflect the acupuncture-induced changes in vagal nerve function.