Possibilities for Optimizing Acupuncture Treatments Results
Through Synchronization with Somatic State:
An Examination of Autonomic Response to Superficial NeedIing During Exhalation
Tim H. Tanaka , Ph.D.
(Published in the American Journal of Acupuncture, Vol. 24, No. 4, 233-239, 1996)
A recent study (Nishijo, et al. 1994) indicates that superficial acupuncture stimulation during a patient’s exhalation phase only in a sitting position (SES) induces prolonged parasympathetic activation. The aim of the study was to re-examine Nishijo’s findings and further explore clinical validation of SES by comparing the response to SES with CONT (continuous stimulation without considering the respiratory phase). The results indicated that SES produces consistent parasympathetic activation and confirmed that autonomic response induced by SES application is highly reproducible. Furthermore, the response following SES was much greater than response after CONT stimulation. The study concluded that the same amount of stimulation applied at the same point produces different responses, indicating the importance of considering a patient’s respiratory state during acupuncture.
Clinical Implementation: Prof.Nishijo of the Tsukuba College of Technology was the first to show the significant autonomic effects of SES technique suggesting the importance of needling and stimulating during the exhalation phase of patient’s respiration. He demonstrated through a series of experiments that SES technique increases peripheral skin temperature, joint flexibility, and stomach vermiculation.
This follow up study also demonstrates that SES stimulation activates both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. Because the autonomic nervous system plays the most critical role in our internal organic system, this technique can be beneficial for a variety of disorders. (Jan. 2002)