Acupuncture for Depression and Stress


These next two studies suggest that Acupuncture might play an integrative role in depressed mood, and stress via stimulation of the vagus nerve (parasympathetics) and reduction of catecholamines secretions. 

Effect of electroacupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) acupoints on adrenocortical function in etomidate anesthesia patients.


“Background We aimed to investigate the effect of electroacupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) on adrenocortical function in patients with etomidate anesthesia. Material and Methods We randomly divided 80 patients who underwent elective surgery into 4 groups: group etomidate (ETO), group etomidate + electroacupuncture (ETO+EA), group etomidate + shamacupuncture (ETO+SEA), and group propofol (PRO). The patients in group ETO, ETO+EA, and ETO+SEA were induced with etomidate and sufentanil and maintained with intravenous infusion of etomidate and remifentanil. Group PRO was induced with propofol and sufentanil and maintained with propofol and remifentanil. Group ETO+EA received electro-acupuncture stimulation at Zusanli and Sanyinjiao throughout the operation, while group ETO+SEA received electro-acupuncture stimulation at non-acupoints. We recorded the values of MAP, HR, BIS, CVP, cortisol, ACTH, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and arterial blood gas during the perioperative period. Results Cortisol concentrations were significantly higher at all times except T0 in group ETO+EA compared with group ETO. The ACTH concentrations were lower in group ETO+EA than that in group ETO at point T3. Conclusions Electroacupuncture at ST 36 and SP 6 can mitigate the adrenal cortical inhibition induced by etomidate and can reduce the secretion of catecholamines during surgery.”


Effects of electroacupuncture at auricular concha region on the depressive status of unpredictable chronic mild stress rat models.


“To explore new noninvasive treatment options for depression, this study investigated the effects of electroacupuncture (EA) at the auricular concha region (ACR) of depression rat models. Depression in rats was induced by unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) combined with isolation for 21 days. Eighty male Wistar rats were randomly assigned into four groups: normal, UCMS alone, UCMS with EA-ACR treatment, and UCMS with EA-ear-tip treatment. Rats under inhaled anesthesia were treated once daily for 14 days. The results showed that blood pressure and heart rate were significantly reduced in the EA-ACR group than in the UCMS alone group or the EA-ear-tip group. The open-field test scores significantly decreased in the UCMS alone and EA-ear-tip groups but not in the EA-ACR group. Both EA treatments downregulated levels of plasma cortisol and ACTH in UCMS rats back to normal levels. The present study suggested that EA-ACR can elicit similar cardioinhibitory effects as vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), and EA-ACR significantly antagonized UCMS-induced depressive status in UCMS rats. The antidepressant effect of EA-ACR is possibly mediated via the normalization of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis hyperactivity.”


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