Clinical Teleacupuncture between China and Austria Using Heart Rate Variability in Patients with Depression


In previous studies by the same research group it has been shown in post-stroke patients that the autonomic system can be affected by acupuncture. Within this study, teleacupuncture between China and Austria is used for quantifying the effects of heart rate variability (HRV) in Chinese patients suffering from depression. In 22 Chinese depression patients (17 f, 5 m; mean age ± SD 52.3 ± 10.6 years; range 31 - 70 years) electrocardiographic signals before, during and after acupuncture at the acupoint Jianshi (PC 5) were recorded in Harbin and analyzed in Graz using teleacupuncture via internet. HRV data were analyzed in the time and frequency domain and a protocol from Austria was sent to the team in China immediately after the treatment and recording session. Mean heart rate decreased significantly (p < 0.001) during and after acupuncture, whereas total HRV increased significantly during (p < 0.034) and after (p < 0.001) acupuncture, always immediately following manual needle stimulation. Furthermore, there is a marked decrease in balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic activity (low frequency/high frequency HRV ratio) during treatment. This study shows that HRV could be a useful parameter for quantifying clinical effects of acupuncture on the autonomic nervous system. Teleacupuncture between China and Austria over a distance of more than 8,500 km has been successfully used.

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L. Wang, G. Cheng, Z. Sheng, Q. Niu, W. Cheng, X. Feng, J. Valentini, I. Gaischek, X. Gao, H. Kuang and G. Litscher, "Clinical Teleacupuncture between China and Austria Using Heart Rate Variability in Patients with Depression," Chinese Medicine, Vol. 2 No. 2, 2011, pp. 71-76. doi: 10.4236/cm.2011.22013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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