Auricular acupuncture treatment for insomnia: a systematic review

J Altern Complement Med. Jul-Aug 2007;13(6):669-76. doi: 10.1089/acm.2006.6400.

Abstract

Objectives: To review trials on the efficacy and safety of auricular acupuncture (AA) treatment for insomnia and to identify the most commonly used auricular acupoints for treating insomnia in the studies via a frequency analysis.

Data sources: The international electronic databases searched included: (1) AMED; (2) the Cochrane library; (3) CINAHL; (4) EMBASE; and (5) MEDLINE. Chinese electronic databases searched included: (1) VIP Information; (2) CBMdisc; and (3) CNKI.

Study selection: Any randomized controlled trials using AA as an intervention without using any co-interventions for insomnia were included. Studies using AA versus no treatment, placebo, sham AA, or Western medicine were included.

Data extraction: Two (2) independent reviewers were responsible for data extraction and assessment. The efficacy of AA was estimated by the relative risk (RR) using a meta-analysis.

Results: Eight hundred and seventy eight (878) papers were searched. Six (6) trials (402 treated with AA among 673 participants) that met the inclusion criteria were retrieved. A meta-analysis showed that AA was chosen with a higher priority among the treatment subjects than among the controls (p < 0.05). The recovery and improvement rates produced by AA was significantly higher than those of diazepam (p < 0.05). The rate of success was higher when AA was used for enhancement of sleeping hours up to 6 hours in treatment subjects (p < 0.05). The efficacy of using Semen vaccariae ear seeds was better than that of the controls (p < 0.01); while magnetic pearls did not show statistical significance (p = 0.28). Six (6) commonly used auricular acupoints were Shenmen (100%), Heart (83.33%), Occiput (66.67%), Subcortex (50%), Brain and Kidney (each 33.33%, respectively).

Conclusions: AA appears to be effective for treating insomnia. Because the trials were low quality, further clinical trials with higher design quality, longer duration of treatment, and longer follow-up should be conducted.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Acupuncture, Ear / methods*
  • Acupuncture, Ear / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Research Design
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome