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Home > Newsletters > July 2004 >

Recent Research

  Parental Auricular Acupuncture During Anesthesia
Acupuncture Needless in Blood Pressure Reduction

Parental Auricular Acupuncture During Anesthesia

The purpose of this study was to determine whether parental auricular acupuncture reduces parent's Anxiety before an operation and thus allows children to benefit from their presence while anesthesia is administered.

Mothers of children who were scheduled to undergo surgery were randomly assigned to an acupuncture intervention group, with auricular press needles at relaxation, tranquilizer, and master cerebral points, or a sham acupuncture control group where needles were pressed at the shoulder, wrist, and extraneous auricular point. The intervention was performed at least 30 minutes before the child received anesthesia. All mothers were present during the induction of anesthesia.

After induction, analysis found that maternal Anxiety in the acupuncture group was significantly lower (42.9 +/- 10 vs., 49.5 +- 11; P=.014). The model also showed that children whose mothers received the acupuncture intervention were significantly less anxious on entrance to the operating room and during introduction of the anesthesia mask (38.6 +/- 25 vs. 55.6 +/- 31; P = .016). There were no significant differences in maternal blood pressure and heart rate between the two groups.

Wang SM, Maranets I, Weinberg ME, Caldwell-Andrews AA, Kain ZN, Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06520-8051

 Acupuncture Needless in Blood Pressure Reduction


Acupuncture failed to reduce blood pressure, a researcher from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center reported at the American Society of Hypertension's 19th Annual Scientific Meeting last month.

The researchers, led by Dr. Norman M. Kaplan, treated 11 people with normal to stage 1 hypertension with 30 minutes of repeated electrical acupuncture, two or three times a week for four weeks at traditional Chinese "hypertension" sites. Blood pressure was measured in the office with ambulatory monitors to record pressure during the day and night. Routine blood pressure was measured four times before and after each acupuncture treatment.

Researchers noted that sympathetic nerve traffic did not change immediately but was reduced by the end of the four-week protocol. Sympathetic nerve traffic is the microelectric measurement of traffic down the nerve. Systolic blood pressure fell an average of 4 mm Hg after nine of the ten treatments. Diastolic blood pressure remained the same. Pre-acupuncture blood pressure levels did not change over the four weeks and ambulatory pressure was not reduced. Although there was a small fall in systolic blood pressure after each treatment, there was no evidence of persistent, long-term reduction.


This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of standardized acupuncture treatment in managing disabling breathlessness. The study compared a standardized acupuncture technique vs. a placebo/control (mock transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) for disabling, nonmalignant breathlessness. The acupuncture was provided by a trained nurse acupuncturist. Each patient received six treatments in each phase of the study, with an intervening two-week washout period.

The primary outcome was worst breathlessness (visual analog scale, 0 to 100 mm), with the sample size based on an 80% power to detect a 10-mm difference between treatment means. Secondary outcomes included the St George's respiratory questionnaire score and treatment credibility.

Thirty-six patients were entered into the study (33 with COPD), and 24 patients completed both treatment phases. The primary outcome improved significantly during the course of the study, but there were no significant treatment differences between acupuncture and the placebo/control of mock TENS for either primary or secondary outcomes. The placebo was shown to be a credible control. There was no evidence of a carryover effect from the first to second phase of the study.

Researchers concluded that standardized acupuncture technique does not show specific efficacy in disabling nonmalignant breathlessness, but those entered into the study did experience clinically significant benefit from both treatments.

Lewith GT, Prescott P, Davis CL.
Complementary Medicine Research Unit, Royal South Hants Hospital, Southampton, UK.

This Month's Articles

July 2004
Volume 2, Number 5

Treatment of Withdrawal Symptoms With Acupuncture

So You've Decided to Become an Acupuncturist...

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor


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