Kristen Sparrow • June 01, 2012
Neurophysiol Clin. 2012 Jun;42(4):225-30. Epub 2012 Mar 6.
Effects of acupuncture needle penetration on motor system excitability.
Zunhammer M, Eichhammer P, Franz J, Hajak G, Busch V.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) studies reported changes in motor evoked potential amplitude after acupuncture needling both at traditional acupoints and non-acupoints. However, the effects of needle penetration per se have not yet been investigated with TMS. The present study aimed at exploring effects of deep manual acupuncture needling compared to a state-of-the-art, non-penetrating control condition on several standard TMS measures of motor system excitability.
Verum compared to sham acupuncture significantly increased resting motor threshold. No significant treatment effect was found for any other measure, though cortical silent period and intracortical facilitation showed trends to increase in the hemisphere contralateral to the needling site after verum acupuncture.
These results suggest a subtle but specific inhibitory effect of acupuncture needle penetration at acupoint GB 34 on motor system excitability. Further investigations should be performed with a particular emphasis on the measurements of resting motor threshold, cortical silent periods and intracortical facilitation.