Objective: To observe the clinical efficacy of acupuncture at twelve meridians acupoints on general anxiety disorder and explore its mechanism.
Methods: Eighty patients were randomized into an acupuncture group and a clonazepam group, 40 cases in each one. In the acupuncture group, acupuncture at twelve meridians acupoints was applied, meaning quick needling at the specific acupoints of each meridian, such as Lieque (LU 7) of the Lung Meridian, Hegu (LI 4) of the Large Intestine Meridian and Shenmen (HT 7) of the Heart Meridian. After arrival of qi, the reinforcing or reducing technique was applied accordingly and the needles were not retained. In the clonazepam group, clonazepam was prescribed for oral administration. The course of treatment was 6 weeks. Before treatment and in 2, 4 and 6 weeks of treatment, respectively, Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) was evaluated in two groups and the changes in the basic electrical activity of brain waves before and after treatment were observed.
Results: HAMA score was reduced apparently after treatment as compared with that before treatment in two groups (all P < 0.01). The improvements of the total HAMA scores in 2, 4 and 6 weeks of treatment in the acupuncture group were superior obviously to those in the clonazepam group (all P < 0.05). After treatment, the activity of brain waves was improved remarkably, manifested as reducing of wave a frequency, increasing of wave alpha rhythm and reducing of wave theta (all P < 0.05). The efficacy was similar in comparison between the two groups (all P > 0.05).
Conclusion: Acupuncture at the twelve meridians acupoints achieves the superior and quick effect on general anxiety disorder as compared with clonazepam and the efficacy mechanism is related to the improvements of brain waves in the patients.