Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ear Acupuncture Benefits The Heart – New Research

Researchers have discovered that auricular acupuncture benefits the heart by increasing heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is the body’s ability to regulate the time interval between heart beats and is an index of the body’s ability to maintain control of the heart beat rate andAcupuncture CEU OnlineEar Acupuncture rhythm through vagus nerve activity. A lowering of HRV is found in unhealthy and highly stressed individuals. Acupuncture’s ability to raise HRV is of importance because reduced HRV is linked to mortality after myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, diabetic neuropathy and low survival rates in premature babies. A reduction of HRV is also common in patients with PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) and for individuals with increased heart rates due to stress.
Acupuncture’s ability to raise HRV was measured using electrocardiograms (ECGs) and an HRV Mediolog AR12 system. The evidence-based research concludes that “HRV changes significantly during auricular acupuncture…” and that “HRV total increases during auricular acupuncture….” The research team, based in China and Austria, measured significant increases in HRV when needling Ear-Shenmen (earpoint: Heart). Ear-Shenmen is located on the external ear at the bifurcating point between the superior and inferior antihelix crus at the lateral third of the triangular fossa. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ear-Shenmen is used for sedation, relaxing the mind, pain relief and clearing the heart.
Researchers from the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience discovered similar results last year. They measured that needling acupuncture point CV17 increases HRV. They concluded that acupuncture at CV17 “causes the modulation of cardiac autonomic function.” The research measured the mechanism by which acupuncture at CV17 is able to activate the autonomic nervous system to control the heart rate by increasing vagal activity.

Laser Acupuncture Lowers Heart Rate – New Proof

Laser Acupuncture OnlineLaser AcupunctureNew research reveals that ultra-low-level violet laser stimulation of acupuncture point Du-20 (Baihui) changes the heart rate. A 405nm wavelength laser beam at an output power of 1mW (continuous mode) was directed at Du-20 (Baihui, GV-20) on laboratory rats. There was an acute on/off effect when activating the laser beam. When on, the laser beam significantly lowered the heart rate. Results were measured by electrocardiograms using an HRV Medilog AR12 system. The acupuncture point Du-20 was located “at the continuation of the line connecting the highest points of the ear, on the median line of the head.”
The researchers note that laser acupuncture “can modulate physiological and neurovegetative parameters after stimulating the Baihui acupuncture point” and that there was a “clear on/off-effect when the laser was activated/deactivated.” Given the controlled predictability of laser acupuncture stimulation on bodily function, the researchers from the Medical University of Graz, Austria and the Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences conclude that low-level laser acupuncture can be used in clinical studies.

MRI Acupuncture Research Maps Brain Network

New MRI research shows that autonomic nervous system (ANS) responses to acupuncture emanate from “distinct subregions” of “brain circuitry." A prestigious team of researchers from institutions such as MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), University of Michigan and Massachusetts General Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture MRI ResearchHospital compared true acupuncture at acupoints ST36 and SP9 with sham acupuncture (non-acupoint location). True acupuncture activated the secondary somatosensory cortex (S2), insula, and the mid-cingulate cortex. The heart rate (HR) deceleration and skin conductance response (SCR) “magnitude of response was greater following real acupuncture” than with sham acupuncture.
Differential outflows of autonomic nervous system responses to acupuncture were associated with specific brain responses. Acupuncture with strong SCR causes “greater anterior insula activation” of the brain, particularly at acupoint SP9. Acupuncture stimulation producing greater deceleration of the heart rate was proportional to brain default mode network (DMN) deactivation. DMN is a network of brain areas responsible for internal processing including wakeful resting, memory recall, daydreaming and thinking about the future. ST36 had a significantly strong heart rate reduction and corresponding DMN response.

Acupuncture Treats Atrial Fibrillation – New Research

Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for A-fibNew research concludes that “acupuncture may be an effective non-invasive and safe antiarrhythmic tool” for the treatment of A-fib (atrial fibrillation, AF). A-fib is a common cardiac arrhythmia and is often associated with palpitations, chest pain and syncope. In A-fib, the normal P wave measured with an electrocardiogram is pathologically absent.

The researchers applied acupuncture points P6 (Neiguan), HT7 (Shenmen) and UB15 (Xinshu). Acupuncture was applied once per week for a total of ten weeks. All participants in the study had normal ventricular function. The researchers concluded that acupuncture “was associated with an antiarrhythmic effect.” Notably, true acupuncture was found significantly effective for the treatment of atrial fibrillation and sham acupuncture (non-acupoint) was not. In addition, acupuncture had similar efficacy to amiodarone, an antiarrhythmic pharmaceutical medication, in the prevention of A-fib recurrence. Moreover, acupuncture was effective for the treatment of both persistent and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation

Acupuncture & PEA for Multiple Sclerosis Pain

Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture with PEA for MSA recent case study from the Institute for Neuropathic Pain concludes that combining acupuncture with palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) has a synergistic effect in reducing central neuropathic pain for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The combination reduces both pain intensity and the duration of pain relief. PEA is an endogenous fatty acid amide and is an endocannabinoid with an affinity for the cannabinoid-like receptors GPR55 and GPR119. Unlike THC (a psychoactive component in marijuana), PEA does not bind to CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.
The researchers note that acupuncture partially reduced the 61 year old female patient’s pain. After adding PEA to the regime of care, the patient’s pain levels decreased even further than with acupuncture as the only treatment modality. Additionally, the patient needed less frequent acupuncture care when using PEA to help control pain levels. The researchers suggest that a “multimodal stepped care approach is demonstrated” with both acupuncture and PEA affecting activated glial cells, which are important cells in relation to the control of neuropathic pain.