Disabil Rehabil. 1998 Feb; 20(2): 41-8.
The effects of acupuncture, electroneedling and transcutaneous electrical stimulation therapies on peripheral haemodynamic functioning.
State University of New York Health Science Center, Program in Physical Therapy, Brooklyn 11203-2098, USA.
For decades, acupuncture and electroneedling treatments have been used, predominately in the Eastern countries, in the management of patients with compromised cardiovascular and digestive functions. Similarly, neuromuscular electrical stimulation is commonly employed in Western countries to modulate pain, augment muscle strength and enhance blood flow in patients with peripheral vascular disease. Many rehabilitation specialists believe that electrical stimulation of acupuncture points with surface electrodes can elicit the same physiological and therapeutic effects as those produced by acupuncture and electroneedling techniques. Electrical stimulation of acupuncture points with surface electrodes is a relatively new and non-invasive treatment with potential clinical application in the management of patients with peripheral vascular disease. Presently, there are controversies in the literature as to the effects of traditional acupuncture, electroneedling and neuromuscular electrical stimulation treatments on peripheral haemodynamic functioning. This paper provides a detailed review of published studies on the above promising therapies. An attempt was made to clarify the pitfalls in the extant literature and delineate the fact from the fiction. Areas for further research were proposed.