IMPRESSIVE AURICULOTHERAPY RESEARCH KEEPS ON COMING…

To me the biggest question when it comes to Auriculotherapy is simple: Does stimulating reflex points on the surface of the auricle (ear) produce measurable physiological improvements? Based on the scientific literature searches I have performed and presented I believe this question has been answered beyond any doubt – YES! Locating and stimulating somatotopic reflex points on the surface of the ear consistently produces change to the internal body physiology, distant from the site of stimulation. To me the ONLY debate in Auriculotherapy is about identification and selection of the best points to treat for different syndromes and this is the focus and priority of our training programs – to supply you with the technology and clinical knowledge that will assist you to make the most effective treatment decisions…

First let’s summarise the most recent research findings (September 2011 to July 2012):

1) Obesity body measurements, lipid profile, inflammatory, and immunologic markers.

This study examined the effectiveness of auricular acupuncture on body weight loss and its impact on lipid profile and immunologic markers in obese subjects. With a large sample size of 204 randomized to therapeutic acupuncture and control groups. Subjects received authentic  or sham acupuncture for 6 weeks in combination with a low-calorie diet. In the next 6 weeks, the low-calorie diet was used on its own. Subjects were assessed at the beginning and 6 and 12 weeks later. In addition to body measurement and lipid parameters, serum anti-heat shock protein levels were assessed. Comparison between cases and controls showed that authentic acupuncture was more effective in reducing the levels of anthropometric measurements and anti-heat shock protein antibodies. The researchers concluded that auricular acupuncture in combination with diet restriction was effective for weight loss and dyslipidemia. Moreover, it was found that it has modulatory effects on the immune system.

2) Chronic Low Back Pain.

The objective of this study was to explore the acceptance of auricular point acupressure to reduce chronic low back pain (CLBP) and estimate minimum clinically important differences for pain intensity change. A total of 74 subjects participated in the study. The retention rate was 87%. Subjects reported a 46% reduction in worst pain, and over 50% reduction in average pain, overall pain severity and pain interference by the end of study, and 62.5% subjects also reported less pain medication use.

3) Moderate and severe sudden deafness.

This research tested the therapeutic effect on moderate and severe sudden deafness treated with low-energy laser irradiation on acupoint and external auditory canal combined with auricular point sticking (APS) and as compared with electroacupuncture. Two hundred and fifty-eight cases of moderate and severe sudden hearing loss were included. Both therapies were able to decrease frequency audiometry, improve auditory function, and the therapeutic effects were better with prolongation of treatment time. The clinical efficacy of the two therapies on moderate and severe sudden deafness were remarkably superior to that of conventional treatment.

4) Analgesia during perioperative period in total hip replacement surgery.

This study investigated the clinical effects of auricular acupoint in the treatment of analgesia during perioperative period in total hip arthroplasty. 60 patients with late osteonecrosis of the femoral head were treated by total hip arthroplasty and randomly divided into auricular acupuncture group and control group. The study concluded that auricular acupuncture can reduce postoperative pain, reduce the usage of analgesia and complications such as nausea and vomiting, and improve the function of hip joint after operation.

5) Glucometabolism in patients with diabetes.

This paper explored the intervention effect of the auricular stimulation for diabetes. Forty-five cases were treated and changes of the fasting plasma glucose, oral glucose tolerance test and glycosylated hemoglobin were compared before and after treatment. All measures were improved after treatment.

6) Reducing stress in nursing professionals.

This clinical randomized trial was performed to evaluate the stress levels of the nursing staff of a hospital and analyze the effectiveness of auriculotherapy. 75 participants with mean and high stress scores were divided into groups (control, needles, and seeds). In conclusion, auriculotherapy reduced the stress in the nursing staff.

7) The successful treatment of flat warts!

Flat warts are a common presenting complaint in adolescents and adults. Patients suffering from flat warts are often unsatisfied with conventional medical care because of adverse effects such as intolerable pain, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, or occasionally allergic contact dermatitis. To offset the possibilities of hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, and scar formation, the method of auricular acupuncture was used. 60 subjects with flat warts were all outpatients and randomly allocated to a treatment group or a control group. Thirty subjects in the treatment group were treated with weekly auricular acupuncture for 10 weeks while the other subjects in the control group were treated with tretinoin ointment topically for 10 weeks. 53% in the treatment group recovered fully from flat warts without recurrence during the ensuing six months follow-up compared with only 3% in the control group. During the treatment period and the ensuing six months follow-up, no adverse effects were observed by the investigators or reported by patients.

8) Increased heart rate variability.

The effects of high-tech acupuncture on autonomic function was performed by two research teams from China and Austria. Heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) recordings in 10 male anesthetized rats were performed under stable conditions. HR did not change significantly during any acupuncture stimulation in anesthetized rats. Total HRV changed significantly during auricular acupuncture.

9) Suppressing Epileptic Seizures via Activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System.

Auricular acupuncture is a diagnostic and treatment system based on normalizing the body's dysfunction. An increasing number of studies have demonstrated that auricular acupuncture has a significant effect on inducing parasympathetic tone. Autonomic imbalance demonstrating an increased sympathetic activity and a reduced parasympathetic activation is involved in the development and progress of epileptic seizures. This paper proposes that auricular acupuncture may suppress epileptic seizures via activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

10) Effectively reducing anxiety before dental treatment.

This study analysed whether auricular acupuncture could reduce anxiety before dental treatment. This prospective, randomised patient-blinded study with 182 patients compared anxiety before dental treatment following auricular acupuncture versus acupuncture at sham points and a non-intervention control group. Auricular acupuncture reduced state anxiety score more effectively than sham acupuncture. In contrast, state anxiety in the control group increased.

11) Weight Reduction and Abdominal Obesity.

The study was designed to test the efficacy of different materials used in an auricular acupressure program on weight reduction, changes to waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio. This study used a randomized design with two groups who were treated with two types of auricular acupressure. The total sample size was 56 young adults who ranged in age from 18 to 20 years old. Each participant was met with weekly for ten-minute sessions during which ear acupressure treatment was performed. Sessions continued for eight weeks. The results suggested that auricular acupressure is a reasonable option for the treatment of overweight and obesity in young adults.

12) Analgesia during lower limb orthopedic operation.

This paper observed the therapeutic effect of otopoint-pellet pressure combined with patient controlled intravenous analgesia for lower-limb orthopedic surgery. 120 lower-limb orthopedic operation patients were randomized into pellet pressure plus intravenous analgesia and intravenous analgesia only group. The patient's pain degree was evaluated by visual analogue score. The study concluded that pellet pressure in addition to analgesia is superior in post-operative analgesia and reducing post-operative adverse reactions.

13) Effect on epileptic seizures.

These researchers observed the anti-seizure effect of auriclular electroacupuncture at different site regions in awake rats. The results lead to the conclusion that electroacupuncture has a good effect in suppressing epileptic seizures, which may be mediated via the auricular branch of the vagus nerve.

14) “Lazy Eyes”.

This paper compared the differences in the therapeutic effect on child amblyopia between auricular point sticking therapy and routine complex treatment. Two hundreds and thirty cases of amblyopia were randomly divided into an observation group and a control group, 120 cases (212 eyes) were in the observation group and 110 cases (194 eyes) were in the control group. The observation group was treated with auricular point sticking therapy. The control group was treated with routine complex treatment, such as wearing glasses, shade therapy and family refined performance therapy. The changes of vision were observed after treatment in the two groups. The follow-up was 3 years. The effective rate was 81% in the observation group of ametropic amblyopia and 52% in the control group. The effective rate was 73% in the observation group of anisometropic amblyopia and 47% in the control group. The effective rate was 71% in the observation group of strabismic amblyopia and 45% in the control group. The authors made the impressive conclusion that auricular point sticking therapy can obviously improve child visual acuity.

15) Forty years of acupuncture experience in an ENT practice.

Acupuncture as a complementary method provides optimal conditions for ENT specialists, particularly when somatotopic microsystems are used. Via points of these systems, pain conditions and functional disorders as well as specific ENT indications (e.g., rhinitis pollinosa, sinusitis, pharyngitis) can be treated successfully. Therapy is performed quickly and without side effects.

16) Influence on the quality of life and the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism.

This study included 27 female patients who applied for medical treatment of arthralgias and myalgias. They were found to have elevated levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone in conjunction with the normal concentrations of thyroid hormones. Twenty of the 27 patients completed two therapeutic courses with a 3-4 month interval between them. The treatment resulted in a significant decrease of the number and severity of the initial clinical symptoms; the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone fell down to the physiological values, characteristics of the quality of life became comparable with those of healthy subjects. It is concluded that acupuncture may be regarded as an alternative to substitution therapy of subclinical hypothyroidism.

17) As an aid for smoking cessation.

156 consecutive adult smokers were observed for the end point of self-reported continuous abstinence. 77% stopped smoking for more than 7 days. Moreover, 53% remained free of smoking for more than 90 days. Long-term abstinence rates were 49% (1 year) and 48% (2 years). Treatment-related side effects were observed in 25% of participants. Side effects were mild and resolved within hours.

18) Effects on heart rate, oxygen consumption and blood lactic acid for elite basketball athletes.

This study investigated the effects of auricular acupuncture on athletes' recovery abilities after exercise. Subjects were selected from twenty-four male elite university basketball players, randomly divided into two groups: auricular acupuncture group and control group, each group containing twelve subjects. Each subject in both groups performed a ride on the stationary bike until exhausted. The results showed that both Heart Rate (max) and blood lactic acid were significantly lower at the 30th and 60th minutes post-exercise. This suggests that auricular acupuncture can enhance athletes' recovery abilities after aggressive exercise.

Now for the abstracts:

1) Effects of auricular acupuncture on anthropometric, lipid profile, inflammatory, and immunologic markers: a randomized controlled trial study.

J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jul;18(7):668-77. Epub 2012 Jul 12. Abdi H, Abbasi-Parizad P, Zhao B, Ghayour-Mobarhan M, Tavallaie S, Rahsepar AA, Parizadeh SM, Safariyan M, Nemati M, Mohammadi M, Darbandi M, Darbandi S, Ferns GA.

Abstract Objectives: A randomized controlled clinical trial was performed to examine the effectiveness of auricular acupuncture on body weight loss and its impact on lipid profile, and immunologic and inflammatory markers in obese subjects. Methods: Participants (n=204) were randomized to therapeutic acupuncture and control groups. Subjects received authentic (cases) or sham (controls) acupuncture for 6 weeks (first period) in combination with a low-calorie diet. In the next 6 weeks (second period), the low-calorie diet was used on its own. Subjects were assessed at the beginning and 6 and 12 weeks later. In addition to anthropometric and lipid parameters, serum anti-heat shock protein (Hsp)-27, 60, 65, 70 and high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels were assessed. Results: In the first period, anthropometric parameters and hs-CRP changed significantly in both groups, while significant changes in anti-Hsp antibodies were only observed in case subjects. In the second period, which shows the sustainable effects of acupuncture, changes in anthropometric parameters were more prominent in controls, while significant reductions in the group receiving authentic acupuncture were maintained for anti-Hsp antibodies. A comparison between the first and second period in both groups showed that the changes for most of the parameters were more significant in the first period. Comparison between cases and controls showed that authentic acupuncture was more effective in reducing the levels of anthropometric factors and anti-Hsp antibodies but not hs-CRP. Conclusions: Auricular acupuncture in combination with diet restriction was effective for weight loss and dyslipidemia. Moreover, it was found that it has immunomodulatory but not anti-inflammatory effects on the immune system by regulation of the levels of anti-Hsp antibodies.

2) Auricular Point Acupressure for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Feasibility Study for 1-Week Treatment.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:383257. Epub 2012 Jul 1. Yeh CH, Chien LC, Chiang YC, Huang LC.

Objectives. The objective of this one-group, repeated-measures design was to explore the acceptance of auricular point acupressure (APA) to reduce chronic low back pain (CLBP) and estimate minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs) for pain intensity change. Methods. Subjects received 7-day APA treatment. After appropriate acupoints were identified, vaccaria seeds were carefully taped onto each selected auricular point for 7-day. The Brief Pain Inventory Short Form (BPI) was used to collect outcome data. Results. A total of 74 subjects participated in the study. Ten subjects dropped out and the retention rate was 87%. Subjects reported a 46% reduction in BPI worst pain, and over 50% reduction in BPI average pain, overall pain severity and pain interference by the end of study, and 62.5% subjects also reported less pain medication use. The MCIDs for the subscale of BPI ranged from .70 to 1.86 points. The percentage improvement of MCIDs from baseline was between 14.5-24.9%. Discussion. APA appears to be highly acceptable to patients with CLBP. A sham group is needed in order to differentiate the true effects of APA from the possible psychological effects of more frequent visits by the auricular therapist and patients' expectation of the APA treatment.

3) Moderate and severe sudden deafness treated with low-energy laser irradiation combined with auricular acupoint sticking.

Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2012 May;32(5):413-6. Zhou GY.

OBJECTIVE: To test the therapeutic effect on moderate and severe sudden deafness treated with low-energy laser irradiation on acupoint and external auditory canal combined with auricular point sticking (APS) and as compared with electroacupuncture.

METHODS: Two hundred and fifty-eight cases of moderate and severe sudden hearing loss were randomly divided into an observation group 1, an observation group 2 and a control group, 86 cases in each group. In three groups, 10% low molecular Dextran 500 mL were used for intravenous infusion. Based on the above treatment, the observation group 1 was treated with low-energy laser irradiation on acupoint and external auditory canal (such as Ermen (TE 21), Tinggong (SI 19) and Tinghui (GB 2)), combined with APS at Gan (liver), Shen (kidney) and Neifenmi (endorine), etc. The observation group 2 was treated with electroacupuncture at the same acupoints as those point irradiation in observation group 1. Fifteen days made one session. The therapeutic effects were evaluated after one and two sessions.

RESULTS: After two sessions, The cured rate was 40.7% (35/86) in observation group 1 and 38.4% (33/86) in observation group 2,which were superior to 25.6% (22/86) in control group (both P < 0.05). Compared with one session, the therapeutic effects after two sessions were better in two observation groups (both P < 0.05), but there was no significant difference between two groups (both P > 0.05). In comparison of the improvements of frequency audiometry and auditory function, the two observation groups were better than those in control group (P < 0.05, P < 0.01), and the improvements after two sessions were better in two observation groups (both P < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Both of low-energy laser irradiation on acupoint and external auditory canal combined with APS and electroacupuncture are able to decrease frequency audiometry, improve auditory function, and the therapeutic effects are better with prolongation of treatment time. The clinical efficacy of above two the rapies on moderate and severe sudden deafness is superior remarkably to that of conventional treatment. The therapy of low-energy laser irradiation on acupoint and external auditory canal combined with APS can replace the electroacupuncture therapy in treating moderate and severe sudden deafness.

4) Case-control study on application of auricular acupuncture for the treatment of analgesia during perioperative period in total hip arthroplasty.

Zhongguo Gu Shang. 2012 Mar;25(3):220-3. Wang JF, Bao HX, Cai YH, Zhang JH, Tong PJ.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate clinical effects of auricular acupoint (AA) in the treatment of analgesia during perioperative period in total hip arthroplasty.

METHODS: From March 2008 to August 2010, 60 patients with late osteonecrosis of the femoral head were treated by total hip arthroplasty and randomly divided into auricular acupuncture (AA) group and control group, 30 patients in each group. There were 11 males and 19 females in the AA group, with an average age of (60.93 +/- 5.90) years; the patients were treated with auricular acupuncture on the point of Shenmen, Subcortex, Kidney and hip joint for four times a week. There were 12 males and 18 females in control group, with an average age of (59.87 +/- 6.21) years; while the patients without auricular acupuncture. VAS score was used to evaluate the degree of pain; Harris score was used to evaluate the function of hip joint. All patients received patient controlled analgesia pump (PCA) for 48 hours after surgery (400 ml liquids were in PCA pump, including 800 mg tramadol and 0.8 mg fentanyl). The dosage of liquids and adverse reaction of PCA pump in different time were recorded.

RESULTS: The VAS score on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th day separately was (3.61 +/- 0.29), (3.59 +/- 0.30), (2.97 +/- 0.26), (2.29 +/- 0.45), and lower than control group, which separately was (4.19 +/- 0.28), (4.00 +/- 0.31), (3.15 +/- 0.29), (2.83 +/- 0.31). The dosage of PCA in AA group separately was (72.27 +/- 8.06), (60.40 +/- 8.16), (44.13 +/- 4.75), (40.40 +/- 3.69), and less than control group, which was (86.27 +/- 8.51), (73.87 +/- 8.32), (54.53 +/- 5.20), (44.67 +/- 6.31) on the time of 0-12, 12-24, 24-36 h and 36-48 h after surgery. During the using of PCA, nausea and vomiting occurred in 5 cases, less than control group (21 cases). Harris score in AA group (78.90 +/- 5.14) was higher than control group (73.37 +/- 5.99) 2 weeks after operation.

CONCLUSION: Auricular acupuncture can reduce postoperative pain, reduce the usage of analgesic and complications, such as nausea and vomiting, improve the function of hip joint after operation.

5) Effects of stimulating in the cavum concha on glucometabolism in patients with diabetes.

Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2012 Mar;32(3):198-200. Ju YL, Chen ML, Wang L, Lan W, Chi X, Liu JX, Zhang HL.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the intervention effect of the auricular stimulator in the cavum concha for diabetes.

METHODS: Forty-five cases were treated with auricular simulator in the cavum concha for 30 min, once daily for consecutive 3 months. The changes of the fasting plasma glucose (FBG), blood glucose load after 2-hour 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (P2 BG)and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) were compared before and after treatment.

RESULTS: The level of the HbA1c was obviously decreased (P < 0.05, P < 0.01), and there were also statistically significant differences in FBG and P2 BG after the treatment (P < 0.05, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: With the auricular stimulator, the stimulation in the cavum concha is benefit for the improvement of HbA1c of the diabetes.

6) The applicability of auriculotherapy with needles or seeds to reduce stress in nursing professionals.

Rev Esc Enferm USP. 2012 Feb;46(1):89-95. Kurebayashi LF, Gnatta JR, Borges TP, Belisse G, Coca S, Minami A, Souza TM, da Silva MJ.

This clinical randomized trial was performed with the objective to evaluate the stress levels of the nursing staff of a hospital and analyze the effectiveness of auriculotherapy with needles and seeds. The 75 participants with mean (44/58.7%) and high (31/41.3%) scores according to the Stress Symptoms List were divided into groups (control, needles, and seeds), who received eight sessions on the Shenmen, Kidney and Brainstem points and were evaluated at the baseline, fourth and eighth sessions and on the 15-day follow-up session. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed significant differences among the groups at the third assessment (F=3.963/P=0.023) and follow-up (F=6.136/P=0.003). These differences occurred between the control and needle groups. The 'seeds' and needles groups both showed differences (p<0.05) at the second assessment when compared within the same group. In conclusion, auriculotherapy reduced the stress in the nursing staff, with needles showing better results than seeds for high scores, maintaining the effects for 15 days.

7) The successful treatment of flat warts with auricular acupuncture.

Int J Dermatol. 2012 Feb;51(2):211-5. Ning S, Li F, Qian L, Xu D, Huang Y, Xiao M, Duan G, Li Y.

BACKGROUND: Flat warts are a common presenting complaint in adolescents and adults and may be a cosmetic problem as well. Patients suffering from flat warts are often unsatisfied with conventional medical care because of adverse effects such as intolerable pain, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, or occasionally allergic contact dermatitis. To offset the possibilities of hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, and scar formation, the method of auricular acupuncture was used.

METHODS: Single-blind method adopted, 60 subjects with flat warts were all outpatients and randomly allocated to a treatment group or a control group, with 30 patients in each group. Thirty subjects in the treatment group were treated with weekly auricular acupuncture for 10 weeks while the other subjects in the control group were treated with 0.1% of tretinoin ointment topically for 10 weeks.

RESULTS: Sixteen subjects in the treatment group (53.33%) recovered fully from flat warts without recurrence during the ensuing six months' follow-up after 10 weeks' surgery compared with only one subject in the control group (3.33%). The therapeutic effect of the treatment group was statistically better than that of the control group by Mann-Whitney U-test with SPSS software (P < 0.01). During the treatment period and the ensuing six months' follow-up, no adverse effects were observed by the investigators or reported by patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that auricular acupuncture may be a viable alternative for the treatment of flat warts. Larger randomized studies are needed to fully evaluate auricular acupuncture against more conventional treatments, and these are planned.

8) Sino-European transcontinental basic and clinical high-tech acupuncture studies - part 1: auricular acupuncture increases heart rate variability in anesthetized rats.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:817378. Epub 2012 Feb 21. Gao XY, Liu K, Zhu B, Litscher G.

Evidence-based research concerning the effects of high-tech acupuncture on autonomic function was performed by two research teams from China and Austria. This study describes the first transcontinental teleacupuncture measurements in animals. Heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) recordings in 10 male Sprague-Dawley anesthetized rats were performed under stable conditions in Beijing, China, and the data analysis was completed in Graz, Austria. The electrocardiograms (ECGs) were recorded by an HRV Medilog AR12 system during acupuncture of the ear and body (PC6 Neiguan, CV12 Zhongwan, ST36 Zusanli). The data were analyzed using specially adapted novel Austrian software. HR did not change significantly during any acupuncture stimulation in anesthetized rats (ear acupuncture, PC6, CV12, or ST36). Total HRV only changed significantly (P = 0.025) during auricular acupuncture (acupoint heart). The low-frequency/high-frequency ratio parameter decreased significantly (P = 0.03) during stimulation of ST36. This change was based on intensification of the related mechanism of blood pressure regulation that has been demonstrated in previous studies in humans. Modernization of acupuncture research performed as a collaboration between China and Austria has also been demonstrated.

9) Auricular Acupuncture May Suppress Epileptic Seizures via Activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System: A Hypothesis Based on Innovative Methods.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:615476. Epub 2012 Feb 1. He W, Rong PJ, Li L, Ben H, Zhu B, Litscher G.

Auricular acupuncture is a diagnostic and treatment system based on normalizing the body's dysfunction. An increasing number of studies have demonstrated that auricular acupuncture has a significant effect on inducing parasympathetic tone. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder consisting of recurrent seizures resulting from excessive, uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. Autonomic imbalance demonstrating an increased sympathetic activity and a reduced parasympathetic activation is involved in the development and progress of epileptic seizures. Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system such as vagus nerve stimulation has been used for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. Here, we propose that auricular acupuncture may suppress epileptic seizures via activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

10) Auricular acupuncture effectively reduces state anxiety before dental treatment – a randomised controlled trial.

Clin Oral Investig. 2012 Jan 6. Michalek-Sauberer A, Gusenleitner E, Gleiss A, Tepper G, Deusch E.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to analyse whether auricular acupuncture, acupuncture at the outer ear, could reduce state anxiety before dental treatment.

METHODS: This prospective, randomised patient-blinded study with 182 patients compared anxiety before dental treatment following auricular acupuncture at the relaxation-, tranquillizer- and master cerebral points (auricular acupuncture group) versus acupuncture at sham points (finger-, shoulder- and tonsil points; sham group) and a non-intervention control group. Anxiety was assessed using the Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory (German version) before auricular acupuncture and 20 min thereafter, immediately before dental treatment.

RESULTS: Auricular acupuncture reduced state anxiety score more effectively from 54.7 ± 10.8 to 46.9 ± 10.4 (mean ± SD) than sham acupuncture from 51.9 ± 10.2 to 48.4 ± 10.0. In contrast, state anxiety in the control group increased from 51.0 ± 11.7 to 54.0 ± 11.6 (mean increase +3.0; CI +4.7 to +1.2). The decrease in state anxiety in both intervention groups was statistically significant (p < 0.001) when compared to the non-intervention control group. After correcting for group differences in baseline state anxiety, the reduction in anxiety was -7.3 score points (CI -9.0 to -5.6) in the auricular acupuncture group and -3.7 score points (CI -5.4 to -1.9) in the sham group (p = 0.008).

CONCLUSION: Auricular acupuncture, a minimally invasive method, effectively reduces state anxiety before dental treatment.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Auricular acupuncture could be an option for patients scheduled for dental treatment, who experience an uncomfortable degree of anxiety and request an acute intervention for their anxiety.

11) Efficacy of Two Different Materials used in Auricular Acupressure on Weight Reduction and Abdominal Obesity.

Am J Chin Med. 2012;40(4):713-20. Hsieh CH, Su TJ, Fang YW, Chou PH.

The current study was designed to test the efficacy of different materials used in an auricular acupressure program on weight reduction, changes to waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio. This study used a randomized design with two groups who were treated with auricular acupressure using Semen Vaccariae or the Japanese Magnetic Pearl. Both groups consisted of Asian young adults with a waist circumference ≥ 80 cm in the females and ≥ 90 cm in the males. At completion of the eight-week treatment period, the total sample size was 56 young adults who ranged in age from 18 to 20 years old. Each participant was met with weekly for ten-minute sessions during which ear acupressure treatment was performed. Sessions continued for eight weeks wherein both groups received acupressure with the Japanese Magnetic Pearl or Semen Vaccariae on the ear acupoints. While both groups showed significant reductions (p ≤ 0.05) to body weight and waist circumference after eight weeks of treatments, the group treated with Semen Vaccariae group showed a more effective weight loss over the short term. Given that auricular acupressure is a safe and cost-effective treatment for weight loss, our results suggest that auricular acupressure is a reasonable option for the treatment of overweight and obesity in young adults.

12) Clinical application of otopoint-pellet pressure combined with patient controlled intravenous analgesia to lower limb orthopedic operation.

Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2011 Dec;36(6):461-2. Liang YF, Tu FH, Huang CX.

OBJECTIVE: To observe the therapeutic effect of otopoint-pellet pressure (OPP) combined with patient controlled intravenous analgesia (PCIA) for lower-limb surgery of orthopedics.

METHODS: A total of 120 lower-limb orthopedic operation patients were randomized into OPP + PCIA group (n = 60) and PCIA group (n = 60). The patient's pain degree was evaluated by visual analogue score (VAS).

RESULTS: In comparison with the simple PCIA group, VAS levels were significantly lower in the OPP + PCIA group than in the PCIA group 2, 6, 24 and 48 h after operation. The number of patients with post-operative reactions of nausea, vomiting and urinary retention in the OPP+ PCIA group was remarkably lower than that of OPP group (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: OPP + PCIA is superior to simple PCIA in post-operative analgesia and reducing post-operative adverse reactions in lower-limb orthopedic operation patients.

13) Effect of electroacupuncture of different regions of the auricle on epileptic seizures in epilepsy rats.

Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2011 Dec;36(6):414-8. He W, Li YH, Rong PJ, Li L, Ben H, Zhu B.

OBJECTIVE: To observe the anti-seizure effect of electroacupuncture (EA) at different sites regions of the auricle in awake rats.

METHODS: Sixty male SD rats were randomly divided into model, ear-apex, ear-outer-margin, earlobe, cymba-concha, cavitas-conchae groups (n = 10 in each group). A metal microelectrode (diameter: 50 microm) was implanted into the somatosensary cortex for recording the field potentials (FPs). Epileptic seizure model was established by intraperitoneal injection of pentylenetetrazol (PTZ, 60 mg/kg). EA (20 Hz, 1 mA) was applied to ear-apex, ear-outer-margin, earlobe, cymaba-concha and cavitas-conchae for 30 min, respectively. The epileptic behavior changes (scores) were determined in the light of Racine's method, and the epileptic seizure was assessed according to the epileptic FPs (5-folds above the basic amplitude) of the cerebral cortex.

RESULTS: In comparison with the model group, the latency of the first seizure of epilepsy in the ear-outer-margin, earlobe, cymba-concha, cavitas-conchae groups were increased significantly (P < 0.01), while the scores of epileptic behavior and the duration of seizure shown by FPs decreased considerably in the ear-apex, ear-outer-margin, earlobe, cymba-concha, cavitas-conchae groups (P < 0.01). Comparison among the five EA treatment groups showed that the effects of both cymba-concha and cavitas-conchae groups were significantly superior to those of ear-apex, earlobe and ear-outer-margin groups in increasing the latency of the first seizure of epilepsy, and reducing the scores of the epileptic behavior and seizure duration (P < 0.01). No significant differences were found between the cymba-concha and cavitas-conchae groups in the above-mentioned 3 indexes (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: EA of cymba-concha and cavitas-conchae has a good effect in suppressing epileptic seizures, which may be mediated via the auricular branch of the vagus nerve.

14) Observation on therapeutic effect of child amblyopia treated with auricular point sticking therapy.

Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2011 Dec;31(12):1081-3. Gong RL.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the differences in the therapeutic effect on child amblyopia between auricular point sticking therapy and routine complex treatment.

METHODS: Two hundreds and thirty cases of amblyopia were randomly divided into an observation group and a control group, 120 cases (212 eyes) were in the observation group and 110 cases (194 eyes) were in the control group. The observation group was treated with auricular point sticking therapy. The main points were Yan (eye), Shenmen, Gan (liver), Pi (spleen) and Shen (kidney), etc. The control group was treated with routine complex treatment, such as wearing glasses, shade therapy and family refined performance therapy. The changes of vision were observed after treatment in the two groups. The follow-up was 3 years.

RESULTS: The effective rate was 81.0% (64/79) in the observation group of ametropic amblyopia and 52.2% (36/69) in the control group. The effective rate was 73.1% (49/67) in the observation group of anisometropic amblyopia and 47.7% (31/65) in the control group. The effective rate was 71.2% (47/66) in the observation group of strabismic amblyopia and 45.0% (27/60) in the control group. The therapeutic effect of the observation group was superior to that of the control group (all P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Auricular point sticking therapy can obviously improve child visual acuity with simple manipulation.

15) Forty years of acupuncture experience in an ENT practice.

HNO. 2011 Dec;59(12):1185-90. Gleditsch JM.

Acupuncture as a complementary method provides optimal conditions for ENT specialists, particularly when somatotopic microsystems are used, e.g., ear, skull, and oral acupuncture. Via points of these systems, pain conditions and functional disorders as well as specific ENT indications (e.g., rhinitis pollinosa, sinusitis, pharyngitis) can be treated successfully. Therapy is performed quickly and without side effects.

16) The influence of acupuncture on the quality of life and the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone in patients presenting with subclinical hypothyroidism.

Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult. 2011 Sep-Oct;(5):29-33. Luzina KÉ, Luzina LL, Vasilenko AM.

This study included 27 female patients who applied for medical treatment of arthralgias and myalgias. They were found to have elevated levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone in conjunction with the normal concentrations of thyroid hormones. The therapeutic procedures included corporal and auricular acupuncture, introduction of needles into the reflexogenic scalp and wrist zones (depending on clinical symptoms) and into the thyroid gland projection zones on the skin, massage of paravertebral regions of the cervical and thoracic spine using a bone scraper (the Gua Sha healing technique). Twenty of the 27 patients completed two therapeutic courses with a 3-4 month interval between them. The treatment resulted in a significant decrease of the number and severity of the initial clinical symptoms; the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone fell down to the physiological values, characteristics of the quality of life became comparable with those of healthy subjects. It is concluded that acupuncture may be regarded as an alternative to substitution therapy of subclinical hypothyroidism.

17) Photoelectric stimulation of defined ear points (Smokex-Pro method) as an aid for smoking cessation: a prospective observational 2-year study with 156 smokers in a primary care setting.

Eur Addict Res. 2011;17(6):292-301. Epub 2011 Sep 6. Breivogel B, Vuthaj B, Krumm B, Hummel J, Cornell D, Diehl A.

BACKGROUND: Smokex-Pro is a smoking cessation method using a protocol of a standardized consultation and computer-assisted photoelectric stimulation of defined regions in the ear and face.

METHODS: We prospectively enrolled 156 consecutive adult smokers (81 males, 75 females; mean age 43.8 years; body mass index 25.5; daily cigarettes 24.7; Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence 5; 30 smoking years). The primary end point was the self-reported continuous abstinence rate.

RESULTS: Participants completed on average only 32% of recommended visits. A total of 76.7% stopped smoking for more than 7 days. Moreover, 53.4% remained free of smoking for more than 90 days. Long-term abstinence rates were 49.3% (1 year) and 47.95% (2 years). Treatment-related side effects were observed in 24.5% of participants. Side effects were mild and resolved within hours.

CONCLUSION: The Smokex-Pro method appears to be an effective aid for smoking cessation. The treatment was well tolerated and showed only mild and temporary side effects. The average cost of treatment is typically less than EUR 90; the total treatment time is typically 60-90 min. These factors make it an attractive alternative compared to traditional smoking cessation methods. Controlled clinical trials will be needed to confirm the results of this study and refine the treatment for maximum efficacy.

18) Effects of auricular acupuncture on heart rate, oxygen consumption and blood lactic acid for elite basketball athletes.

Am J Chin Med. 2011;39(6):1131-8. Lin ZP, Chen YH, Fan C, Wu HJ, Lan LW, Lin JG.

This study investigated the effects of auricular acupuncture on athletes' recovery abilities after exercise. Subjects were selected from twenty-four male elite university basketball players, randomly divided into two groups: auricular acupuncture group (AAG), and normal control group (NCG), each group containing twelve subjects. Auricular acupuncture was experimented to each AAG athlete while no auricular acupuncture was conducted to each NCG athlete. Each subject in both groups performed a ride on the stationary bike until exhausted. The data of heart rate (HR(max)), oxygen consumption (VO(2 max)), and blood lactic acid were measured at four points of time: during the rest period after warm-ups and at the 5th, 30th and 60th minutes post-exercise, respectively. One-way ANOVA and repeated Scheffé methods were used to test the differences of the data between these two groups. The results showed that both HR(max) and blood lactic acid in AAG were significantly lower than those in NCG at the 30th and 60th minutes post-exercise. This suggests that auricular acupuncture can enhance athletes' recovery abilities after aggressive exercise.

 

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