Medical Research

Effect of acupuncture on heart rate variability in primary dysmenorrheic women

Kristen Sparrow • July 14, 2011

I feel obliged to link to this study since it combines my interest in HRV, and acupuncture. But it is not as awesome as I would like since it uses a point combination that I don’t understand, and it doesn’t give any data on the clinical outcome of the patients. At least in the abstract. I will try to get a copy of the entire paper and report back to you. (Info on my practice here.)

Effect of acupuncture on heart rate variability in primary dysmenorrheic women.
Kim E, Cho JH, Jung WS, Lee S, Pak SC.
Am J Chin Med. 2011;39(2):243-9.

Department of Gynecology, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea.

Primary dysmenorrhea is a common gynecological complaint among young women that is related to an autonomic nervous system (ANS) disturbance. Acupuncture is one of several therapeutic approaches for primary dysmenorrhea, since it can modulate ANS function. The heart rate variability (HRV) parameters such as high frequency (HF), low frequency (LF) and LF/HF ratio are generally accepted tools to assess ANS activity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of acupuncture applied at Hegu (LI4) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) points on HRV of women with primary dysmenorrhea during the late luteal phase. The experimental design was a crossover and patient-blinded procedure. All subjects participated in Sham (SA) and Real Acupuncture (RA) procedure, separated by one month, in a crossover sequence. The participants included 38 women (mean age 22.3 years; weight 53.8 kg; height 162.6 cm). HRV measurement was 15 min before and 15 min after an acupuncture procedure. The RA procedure was performed at two bilateral acupoints, but needles were inserted subcutaneously to the acupuncture points for the SA procedure. The RA induced a significant decrease in LF/HF ratio and a significant increase in the HF power, while SA treatment caused a significant increase only in the HF power. Manual acupuncture at bilateral acupoints of LI4 and SP6 may play a role in dysmenorrhea treatment with autonomic nervous system involvement.