The psychophysiological effect of different modes of manual acupuncture stimulation was investigated in 12 healthy, right handed, male subjects (mean age 29). The cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) in both middle cerebral arteries, arterial blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR) and the perceived intensity of the stimulation were monitored while an acupuncture needle in the right dorsal thenar muscle (point Hegu, Li 4) was repetitively rotated with either high frequency (4-8 Hz) and low amplitude (hf-la) or low frequency (1-2 Hz) and high amplitude (lf-ha). Response patterns induced by hf-la and 1f-ha [corrected] stimulation differed significantly (P < 0.05) as tested by Student's t-test: (1), 1f-ha [corrected] stimulation was perceived as more intense and induced a more marked right hemispheric CBFV increase; (2), while hf-la stimulation lead to a slight decrease of BP and HR, lf-ha stimulation induced an initial pressor response (increase of BP, decrease of HR) and a more marked long term decrease of BP. Data indicate that the mode of manual acupuncture stimulation has a differential effect on the perceived stimulation intensity, the cerebral activation and the cardiovascular reflex response.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.