Monday, 8 August 2011

Acupuncture specifically affects heart’s parasympathetic nerves

Below is some very interesting research demonstrating acupuncture effect this time on the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic system specifically is responsible for stimulation of "rest-and-digest" activities that occur when the body is at rest one of those activities is your heart rate. It would be somewhat of  a problem if you had to think and control your heart rate. The researchers found that stimulation of Ren 17 which is found on the mid line of the chest and in acupuncture is said to clear stagnation in the chest and benefit the diaphragm.

"Japanese researchers have found strong evidence that the stimulation of Shanzhong REN-17 can specifically increase activity in the parasympathetic nerves of the heart. Their study examined whether stimulation of two neighbouring acupoints on the anterior midline of the thorax, Shanzhong REN-17 and Zhongting REN-16, could induce differential effects on cardiac autonomic nervous function, assessed by measurements of heart rate variability (HRV). Fourteen healthy males received epifascial acupuncture stimulation (single instantaneous needle stimulation on the fascial surface without deqi) at Shanzhong REN-17 and Zhongting REN-16, on different days, in a clinical study utilising a crossover design. The results showed that stimulation of Shanzhong REN-17, but not Zhongting REN-16, led to decreased heart rate and increased cardiac vagal (parasympathetic) activity. Sympathetic activity showed no significant changes for either point. The investigators comment that their observations could not be explained as either nonspecific or psychological/placebo effects of needle stimulation. (Acupuncture to Danzhong but not to Zhongting increases the cardiac vagal component of heart rate variability. Auton Neurosci. 2011 Apr 26;161(1-2):116-20)."

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