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Immediate effect of three different electroacupuncture protocols on fasting blood glucose in obese patients: a pilot study
  1. Maria Belivani1,
  2. Thomas Lundeberg2,
  3. Mike Cummings3,
  4. Charikleia Dimitroula1,
  5. Nicole Belivani1,
  6. Dimitris Vasilakos4,
  7. Apostolos Hatzitolios1
  1. 1First Propaedeutic Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
  2. 2Foundation for Acupuncture and Biological Treatment Methods, Sabbatsbergs Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3British Medical Acupuncture Society, Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  4. 4Anaesthesiology and ICU Department, AHEPA Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
  1. Correspondence to Maria Belivani, First Propaedeutic Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54646, Greece; maria.belivani{at}yahoo.com

Abstract

Background Obesity is an increasing global health problem, and current methods of management are limited. Preliminary research data suggest that acupuncture may have an influence on metabolic parameters related to obesity.

Objective To determine the electroacupuncture (EA) protocol to be used in a future clinical trial examining the effect of acupuncture on metabolic parameters related to obesity and to examine whether a single EA treatment can change fasting blood glucose in obese subjects.

Methods 16 obese women aged 30–52 years with body mass index >30 kg/m2 were assigned consecutively into three groups and their fasting blood glucose was measured before and after administering a single session, lasting 30 min, of one of three EA treatment protocols. The Dorsal group received EA to dorsal segmental acupuncture points BL18–23 bilaterally (corresponding to the segmental levels innervating the pancreas); the Ear group received EA to ear points in the cavum conchae; and the Limb group received EA to points in the arms and legs (LI10–LI11, ST36–Zongping).

Results After a single session of EA there was a statistically significant decrease in fasting blood glucose in the Dorsal and Limb groups, but there was no change and even a trend towards an increase in the glucose level in the Ear group.

Conclusions The findings of this small pilot study suggest that EA to either dorsal segmental points corresponding to the pancreas or to muscle points in all four limbs may exert a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism in obese women.

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