Medical Research

Continuous Auricular Electroacupuncture Improves Depression and HRV

Kristen Sparrow • January 05, 2014


San Francisco Medical Acupuncture - Kristen Sparrow, MD
Ancient Medicine Made Modern

This is an article from the Litscher group looking at auricular acupuncture for depression.  The used a PStim Device and measured a few metrics for depression and also measured Heart Rate, Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Variability.  Interestingly the LF/HF ratio did not change over the three days, but the overall HRV was improved.  (In my studies, LF/HF was the most sensitive measure of efficacy of acupuncture effectiveness.)
I have tried to get a PStim devise to use in my studies but they are prohibitively expensive.  Too bad!!
The free journal article is here.
Abstract here, and copied below.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.
Continuous auricular electroacupuncture can significantly improve heart rate variability and clinical scores in patients with depression: first results from a transcontinental study.
Shi X, Litscher G, Wang H, Wang L,


The goal of this study was to investigate the impact and acceptability of providing continuous auricular electroacupuncture as an adjunct to conventional medications for patients with depression. Ten patients with a mean age ± SD of 43.3 ± 10.4 years were able to provide informed consent. The quantitative and qualitative outcome measures were heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), and different clinical scores. The study documented that a special kind of auricular electro acupuncture, applied over a period of three days, can improve various aspects of quality of life significantly but also highlighted the significant increase of HRV whilst having acupuncture treatment. In conclusion, our study shows stimulation-related and quantifiable clinical and physiological alterations in parameters after continuous auricular acupoint stimulation in patients with depression. Improved access to electro acupuncture treatment would be of major benefit for these patients. Further studies are necessary in order to verify the gained results.