2010 Volume 73 Issue 4 Pages 231-240
We examined the effects of acupuncture electrotherapy in young women with hie symptoms (excessive sensitivity to cold), presented in conjunction with vasomotor dysfunction as determined by the postural change test.
Subjects and Methods
Subjects comprised 20 women (mean age, 20.6 years; range, 18-26 years) who exhibited symptoms of hie, evaluated as toe skin temperature after standing for 5 mins or a temperature difference between the right and left toes as compared to before standing. A stainless steel acupuncture needle (length, 40 mm; diameter, 0.2 mm) was inserted approximately 15 mm in SP6 (Shangqui). Acupuncture electrotherapy connected an acupuncture electrode to SP6 and a non-feeling electrode to lateral of the tibial tuberosity, and was undertaken at a frequency of 1 Hz for 20 mins. Therapy was provided as a total of 5 sessions, with 1 session each week, and the postural change test was performed before and after therapy. Thermal images from the medial aspect of the foot to the tibial aspect of the lower leg were captured using a medical thermography device, and mean skin temperature was calculated in selected regions of the toes, metatarsals, ankle, and tibial aspect of the lower leg. Therapy was evaluated using a questionnaire with two originally designed scales: a categorical scale of 14 symptoms including hie; and degree of hie on a visual analogue scale (VAS). Subjects completed the questionnaire every day during a period from 1 week before therapy sessions began until 1 week after completion of all 5 sessions. Scores for hie symptoms were calculated as mean values from the total score of the 14 symptoms and VAS each week. Changes in health-related quality of life with acupuncture were evaluated using the SF-8 Standard Edition.
Toe skin temperature just after standing was not significantly increased by therapy as compared to before standing. Skin temperature on the tibial aspect of the lower leg 20 mins after standing was significantly increased as compared to the adaptation period. In terms of hie, VAS and SF-8, no significant changes were seen before and after therapy, but total score for the 14 symptoms decreased significantly.
Acupuncture electrotherapy to SP 6 did not appear to exacerbate hie symptoms after reductions in air temperature, while normalizing the postural vascular reflex and improving hie-related symptoms.