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Int J Neurosci. 1997 Jun; 90(1-2): 45-58.

The physiological responses induced by superficial acupuncture: a comparative study of acupuncture stimulation during exhalation phase and continuous stimulation.

Tanaka TH, Leisman G, Nishijo K.

Pacific Wellness Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This study investigated the physiological effect of superficial acupuncture stimulation during a patient's exhalation phase in a sitting position (SES). The response to SES was compared to the stimulation applied continuously without considering the respiratory phase (CONT). It evaluated a chronic tension-type headache patient's static electromyographic (EMG) activity, pain response, heart rate, pulse height, and skin conductance level. The results indicated that SES stimulation significantly decreased headache intensity and demonstrated a strong trend towards decreasing static EMG activity compared to CONT stimulation. The study concluded that acupuncture, applied on the same point and at the same depth, produced different physiological effects, depending on whether the stimulation was applied during exhalation only or continuously applied. This suggests that the effect of acupuncture derives not only from point selection matching symptoms, but also from a consideration and utilization of the patient's respiratory phase during stimulation.

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