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Evaluation of the effects of manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture at LI4 and LI11 on perception thresholds: a prospective crossover trial


The objective of the study was to investigate and compare the effects of manual acupuncture (MA) and electroacupuncture (EA) on current perception thresholds (CPTs) using quantitative methods.

Twenty-nine healthy volunteers participated in this prospective crossover trial, in which three acupuncture methods were compared: control, MA, and EA. Acupuncture needles were inserted to a depth of 15 mm at LI4 and LI11 on the left side and retained for 30 min with or without electrical stimulation at a frequency of 2 Hz (EA and MA, respectively). The needles were removed and participants rested for 30 min. CPT in the left mental region was measured at 2000, 250, and 5 Hz, corresponding to the activation of Aβ, Aδ, and C-fibers, respectively, at four time points: baseline, T0; 15 min after needle application, T1; immediately after needle removal, T2; and 30 min after needle removal, T3. In the control session, only a sensory test was performed (without acupuncture).

Significant effects of time course on CPT were observed (p < 0.001). CPT values increased significantly at T1, T2, and T3, compared with those at T0, at all stimulation frequencies during MA and EA. Changes in CPT values with EA were not significantly greater than those with MA.

Both MA and EA increased the sensory thresholds of Aβ, Aδ, and C-fibers in the mental region for ⩾30 min after needle removal. Additional of electrical stimulation may not confer additional benefits over needling alone.

Aiko Oyamaguchi, Hiroshi Hanamoto, Yoshiki Tanaka, Sayo Takahashi, Hitoshi Niwa

Acupuncture in Medicine. 2023;0(0). doi:10.1177/09645284221131339

Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/09645284221131339

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