2010 Volume 73 Issue 4 Pages 255-263
Although acupuncture medicine has been used with the aim of maintenance or promotion of health as well as improvement and/or cure of disease, scientific evidences regarding the effect of the therapy on health maintenance or health promotion so far are limited. We evaluated the effect of electroacupuncture on oxidative stress, antioxidative activity, autonomic nerve functions and anxiety to investigate the usefulness of the therapy in terms of health maintenance and health promotion.
Subjects of the present study were nine healthy volunteers (six males and three females, mean age 29.3years). These subjects participated in two experimental conditions (with and without electroacupuncture) at random order with an interval of at least one week. Oxidative stress and antioxidative activity were determined with an automatic free radical analyzer (FRAS-4). Autonomic nerve functions were evaluated with heart rate valiability (HRV) analysis using an ECG monitoring system. Also, psychological statement was evaluated with State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). These evaluation were carried out immediately before and after electroacupuncture or resting period both of which the duration was set for 15 minutes. Electroacupuncture was carried out at LI4 (Hegu) and LI10 (Shousanli) at a frequency of 1.3Hz with a comfortable intensity for the subject. Comparison of the data between immediately before and after stimulation was performed with paired-t test. Repeated measures ANOVA was applied for comparison between groups. Correlation analysis was performed to estimate relation between outcomes. All the analysis was carried out using commercially available statistical software (SPSS ver. 11). A p-value less than five percents was considered statistical significance.
Antioxidative activity was markedly increased under the condition of that electroacupuncture was carried out (p<0.05), which resulted in a statistically significnt difference when compared with those in the control condition, while no statistically significant difference was found between two conditions in the oxidative stress. No significant difference after electroacupuncture was found in any items of HRV analysis and the STAI. There was no significant correlation between changes in the antioxidative activity, items in HRV and STAI.
Discussion & Conclusion
Electroacupuncture was capable of increasing antioxidative activity but had no influence on the autonomic nerve functions and anxiety. We suggested that the mechanism underlying the effect of electroacupuncture to the antioxidative activity may not involve changes in the autonomic nerve functions or psychological factors, but rather depending on the micro injury in the tissue at the needling points or muscle contraction which had been evoked during stimulation.