Background: Anxiety is a very common psychiatric symptom and can also occur in many physical conditions. Due to the limitations of conventional pharmacotherapy, the discovery of nonpharmacologic treatments that alleviate anxiety effectively is clinically important. Yintang (EX-HN 3), an acupoint located between the eyebrows, is known to have a mentally stabilizing effect in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Objectives: This preliminary review was conducted to investigate the current state of studies using acupressure or acupuncture on EX-HN 3 alone for anxiety, and to explore ways to apply this in clinical settings and future research, including systematic reviews and clinical trials.
Materials and Methods: The authors searched 2 electronic medical databases, including PubMed and China National Knowledge Infrastructure, up to December 7, 2017, to collect clinical studies that used acupuncture or acupressure on EX-HN 3 only to relieve anxiety. Methodological qualities of included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were assessed by the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool and a Jadad scale.
Results: Five RCTs were included. Most of the RCTs were aimed at preoperative participants. In this population, the reduction of self-reported anxiety was consistently significant.
Conclusions: Acupuncture or acupressure on EX-HN 3 was used mainly to reduce the anxiety of preoperative participants. The simplicity and economics of this intervention suggest the need for future rigorous clinical trials or systematic reviews on this topic. In addition, more experimental studies should be conducted to identify the underlying mechanisms of this anxiolytic effect.
Published Online: 1 Apr 2018 https://doi.org/10.1089/acu.2017.1268