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Electroacupuncture Could Reduce Motion Sickness Susceptibility in Healthy Male Adults: A Double-Blinded Study


Objective: Motion sickness is the main cause of nausea-related symptoms during passive motion in transportation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) for the reduction of motion sickness symptoms.

Materials and Methods: Study participants were randomly assigned into three groups: Group A, therapeutic EA; Group B, sham EA; and group C, a control group. After an EA session, participants were exposed to a motion stimulus, using a rotating chair. Their symptoms were measured using the Greek version of the Gianaros Motion Sickness Assessment Questionnaire (MSAQ).

Application of verum EA and sham EA to the participants in Groups A and B, respectively, was performed by acupuncture trained Investigator A (O.F.) and took place half an hour prior to the motion-exposure procedure. The acupuncture points used were PC 6 (Pericardium 6), ST 36 (Stomach 36), and LI 4 (Large Intestine 4) bilaterally. EA was applied on needles in PC 6 and ST 36 bilaterally, while, in the LI 4 point only manual acupuncture was applied. The aforementioned protocol is compatible with the recent study of Han et al., who studied the effectiveness of EA treatment for gastroesophageal disease.9 Sterile, disposable, stainless-steel needles were used, with a guide that was 0.25·0.25mm. They were inserted *1cm below the skin surface. Once the needles were positioned at points PC 6 and ST 36, they were connected to a pair of cables of an EA device on the same side to complete the electrostimulation. EA was applied via an ES-160 EA device (ITO Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan) for 20 minutes at preset program 1. In the selected electrostimulation program, the frequency ranges between 1 and 6Hz, while the phase durations of the electrical waves are between 50 and 300ls. There are 5 different consecutive modes used in this program: (1) constant; (2) fast + slow; (3) burst; (4) sweep; and (5) constant. The maximum output current used was low, between 1 and 16mA (the peak output current of the device is 32mA) and the stimulation intensity was adjusted depending on the degree of each participant’s tolerance (mean level of 10–14mA). This is according to the practice of Han et al.’s study, in which the same EA device and the same method for the current were used.9 However, Han et al. preferred to use a mixed electric current at a frequency of 2–6Hz and the ‘‘fast + slow’’ mode of the ES-160 of ITO.9 Sham acupuncture is nontherapeutic acupuncture at nontherapeutic points, but using the same needles as when applying verum acupuncture. The participants were not able to distinguish the difference between conventional and sham EA, despite the fact that no electricity ran through the needles for the latter. In the present study sham acupuncture was applied to nontherapeutic points through superficial needling near acupuncture points LI 13 (Large Intestine 13) and GB 32 (Gall Bladder 32). When applying sham acupuncture, the EA device’s cables were connected to the placed needles; yet, no electrical stimulation was applied. Half an hour after the end of the EA procedure, the participants were exposed to a Coriolis-type stimulus to induce motion sickness by using a rotating chair under the supervision of Investigator B (P.K.). Coriolis stimulation simultaneously engages two of the three semicircular canals of the ears and occurs when there is a sudden movement of the participant’s head on one axis in space, while the participant is in rotation on another axis. This illusion gives the impression that there is rotation on the third axis in space. It has been shown that this Coriolis illusion can disorientate a participant easily and generate motion sickness.10

Results: In this study 20 volunteers participated. All 3 groups of subjects showed increases in their motion sickness symptoms after exposure to the motion stimulus. The mean total symptom score for Group A was 59,375, for Group B it was 74,333, and in Group C was it 93,166. This difference is partially statistically significant when comparing Group A with Group C, especially in a peripheral group of symptoms, as measured by the Gianaros MSAQ.

Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that participants who received therapeutic EA prior to motion stimulation tended to have fewer motion sickness symptoms in comparison with their counterparts, who were not given any therapy.

Studienautor: Ourania Fydanaki, MD, 1 Panagiotis Kousoulis, MD,2,3 Efthimios Dardiotis, MD, 4 Ioannis Bizakis, MD, 5 and Ioannis Hajiioannou, MD5

Quelle: MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE Volume 29, Number 6, 2017 # Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/acu.2017.1246

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