Acupuncture-induced changes of vagal function in patients with depression: A preliminary sham-controlled study with press needles.
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015 Aug ;21(3):193-200. Epub 2015 Jul 6. PMID: 26256139
To study the biological effects of acupuncture on depression, we hypothesized that acupuncture will exert its antidepressant effect through a bottom-up neuromodulation of the autonomic dysfunction in depression. The participants received press needle (PN) acupuncture for 72 h continuously in a sham-controlled design. Psychological assessments and Holter electrocardiography were performed before and after PN acupuncture. We evaluated their autonomic functions through the heart rate variability (HRV). As a result, following PN acupuncture participants showed significant improvement in the Beck's Depression Inventory scores (P = 0.031), systolic/diastolic blood pressures (P = 0.002/P = 0.011), and coefficient of variation of the R-R interval (P < 0.0001), compared to sham PN. The present findings showed PN acupuncture induced alterations in vagal function, blood pressure, and Beck's Depression Inventory scores. It was suggested that vagal stabilization effect by acupuncture may be associated with the therapeutic mechanism in depression.