BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:308
Effects of an integrative treatment, therapeutic
acupuncture and conventional treatment in alleviating psychological distress in primary care patients - a pragmatic randomized controlled trial
Background: To evaluate and compare effects of an integrative treatment (IT), therapeutic acupuncture (TA), and
conventional treatment (CT) in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression in psychologically distressed primary
Methods: An open, pragmatic randomized controlled trial comparing the three treatment regimens at four and
eight weeks after treatment. The study sample consisted of 120 adults (40 per treatment arm) aged 20 to 55 years
referred from four different primary health care centres in western Sweden for psychological distress. Psychological
distress was evaluated at baseline, and after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression
scale (HAD). Treatment sessions lasted about 60 minutes in IT and 45 minutes in TA.
Results: No baseline differences were found between groups on HAD depression or anxiety. HAD anxiety and
depression decreased significantly more in the IT and TA groups than in the CT group both after 4 and 8 weeks of
treatment, but not between IT and TA. Improvements in the TA and IT groups were large and clinically significant,
whereas CT effects were small and clinically non-significant.
Conclusions: Both IT and TA appear to be beneficial in reducing anxiety and depression in primary care patients
referred for psychological distress, whereas CT does not. These results need to be confirmed in larger, longer-term studies addressing potentially confounding design issues in the present study.
Tina Arvidsdotter et al.
Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Autonomic Activation in Insomnia: The Case for Acupuncture
Current conceptualizations of the biological basis for insomnia typically invoke central nervous system and/or autonomic nervous system arousal. Acupuncture may represent a unique avenue of treatment for poor sleep by virtue of its direct effects on peripheral nerves and muscles, which, in turn, modulate autonomic tone and central activation. In this review, we summarize both basic and clinical research indicating that acupuncture exerts profound influences via a wide variety of potential neural and/or hormonal mechanisms that have great relevance for the modulation of sleep and wakefulness. We illustrate principles of acupuncture intervention applied to cases of otherwise intractable insomnia that document successful application of this component of Traditional Chinese Medicine to the treatment of poor sleep. Our review indicates the necessity for further research in the relationship between the effects of acupuncture on insomnia and autonomic regulation, which might guide better selective use of this treatment modality for insomnia.
Wei Huang et al.
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 21 (2015)
Acupuncture-induced changes of vagal function in patients with
depression: A preliminary sham-controlled study with press needles
To study the biological effects of acupuncture on depression, we hypothesized that acupuncture will
exert its antidepressant effect through a bottom-up neuromodulation of the autonomic dysfunction in
depression. The participants received press needle (PN) acupuncture for 72 h continuously in a shamcontrolled
design. Psychological assessments and Holter electrocardiography were performed before
and after PN acupuncture. We evaluated their autonomic functions through the heart rate variability
(HRV). As a result, following PN acupuncture participants showed significant improvement in the Beck's
Depression Inventory scores (P . 0.031), systolic/diastolic blood pressures (P . 0.002/P . 0.011), and
coefficient of variation of the ReR interval (P < 0.0001), compared to sham PN. The present findings
showed PN acupuncture induced alterations in vagal function, blood pressure, and Beck's Depression
Inventory scores. It was suggested that vagal stabilization effect by acupuncture may be associated with
the therapeutic mechanism in depression.
Yoshihiro Noda et al.