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Effect of acupuncture at HT7 on heart rate variability: an exploratory study
  1. Huanlin Huang1,
  2. Zheng Zhong1,
  3. Junqi Chen2,
  4. Yong Huang1,
  5. Jixuan Luo3,
  6. Junxian Wu4,
  7. Hanbo Liao5,
  8. Erchuan Zhen1,
  9. Renyong Lin1,
  10. Ole Bernt Fasmer6,
  11. Gustav Wik6
  1. 1School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
  2. 2The Third Affiliated Hospital of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
  3. 3The First Clinical Medical School, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
  4. 4Shantou Central Hospital, Shantou, Guangdong, China
  5. 5Liwan District TCM Hospital, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
  6. 6Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yong Huang, School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China; nanfanglihuang{at}163.comDr Gustav Wik, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; gustav.wik{at}kliniskmedisin.uib.no

Abstract

Objective To explore the effect of acupuncture at HT7 on heart rate variability (HRV) in healthy volunteers.

Methods 120 subjects were divided into four groups using a random number table. The following groups of acupuncture interventions were used: HT7 verum acupuncture; HT7 non-penetrating sham acupuncture; acupuncture at a sham point; and no acupuncture. HRV was recorded 10 min before, during and after each stimulation using an Actiheart ECG recorder.

Results The HT7 verum acupuncture group had higher very-low frequency, low frequency and high frequency components of HRV compared with the control groups during but not after acupuncture. The HT7 verum acupuncture group also had higher SD of normal intervals compared with the sham needling and no acupuncture control groups.

Conclusions Our preliminary study suggests, subject to limitations, that acupuncture at HT7 could affect cardiac autonomic neural regulation in healthy subjects, manifest as increased HRV, most likely via the parasympathetic system.

Trial registration number ChiCTR-TRC-08000302.

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