Background: Obesity is an increasing global health problem, and current methods of management are limited. Preliminary research data suggest that acupuncture may have an influence on metabolic parameters related to obesity.
Objective: To determine the electroacupuncture (EA) protocol to be used in a future clinical trial examining the effect of acupuncture on metabolic parameters related to obesity and to examine whether a single EA treatment can change fasting blood glucose in obese subjects.
Methods: 16 obese women aged 30-52 years with body mass index >30 kg/m(2) were assigned consecutively into three groups and their fasting blood glucose was measured before and after administering a single session, lasting 30 min, of one of three EA treatment protocols. The Dorsal group received EA to dorsal segmental acupuncture points BL18-23 bilaterally (corresponding to the segmental levels innervating the pancreas); the Ear group received EA to ear points in the cavum conchae; and the Limb group received EA to points in the arms and legs (LI10-LI11, ST36-Zongping).
Results: After a single session of EA there was a statistically significant decrease in fasting blood glucose in the Dorsal and Limb groups, but there was no change and even a trend towards an increase in the glucose level in the Ear group.
Conclusions: The findings of this small pilot study suggest that EA to either dorsal segmental points corresponding to the pancreas or to muscle points in all four limbs may exert a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism in obese women.
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