Medical Research

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: HRV, Moxibustion and Acupuncture

Kristen Sparrow • November 27, 2016


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In this new study from Gerhard Litscher (friend of blog) hrv-moxa-and-chronic-fatigue-litscher, they compare a control group (healthy volunteers), acupuncture group, and moxibustion group.  They then compare their chronic fatigue scores, their HRV scores before during and after acupuncture at the 4th and 10th visit.  He was kind enough to send me the article in full at the link.

Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 25;6:37846.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion have Different Effects on Fatigue by Regulating the Autonomic Nervous System: A Pilot Controlled Clinical Trial.
Shu Q1,2, Wang H1,2, Litscher D3, Wu S1,2, Chen L1,2, Gaischek I3, Wang L3, He W1,2, Zhou H1,2, Litscher G1,2,3, Liang F1,2.
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In order to investigate the different effects of acupuncture and moxibustion on chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and alterations in the autonomic nervous system by measuring heart rate variability (HRV). Forty-five participants were recruited and randomly divided into 3 groups using a randomization schedule. The control group (CG, n = 15) and the acupuncture group (AG, n = 15) were treated by manipulation acupuncture, and the moxibustion group (MG, n = 15) was treated by indirect moxibustion. Primary outcomes were the scores of the Fatigue Assessment Instrument (FAI). Secondary outcomes were the HRV parameters which can reflect activity of the autonomic nervous system. This trial considered both instantaneous changes and long-term effectiveness. FAI scores decreased after the 4th and 10th treatments in the 3 groups. The decrease in FAI in the MG was greater than that in the AG. Acupuncture was more effective in instantaneous changes of HRV and moxibustion in long-term aspects. Both acupuncture and moxibustion improved fatigue in CFS patients, but moxibustion was more effective. The possible mechanism of the intervention may be through activation of the vagus nerve. Moxibustion was more effective than acupuncture in long-term treatment of CFS.