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Relieving Dizziness and Vertigo

Source: Health CMi

Acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of dizziness and vertigo for emergency room patients. Subjective and objective measures document significant positive patient outcomes in a recent investigation. Close up of needling. HRV (heart rate variability), Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI), and the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) of dizziness and vertigo show that acupuncture has an immediate and significant therapeutic effect.

The researchers note that although acupuncture has been used for the alleviation of dizziness and vertigo for over a thousand years, few modern studies investigated this clinical phenomenon. The goal of the study was to determine the safety and efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of dizziness and vertigo in the emergency department of a hospital. Patients were recruited from the emergency department at the Changhua Christian Hospital, Taiwan. All patients were screened by an otolaryngologist and a neurologist for inclusion and exclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria included dizziness, vertigo, vertebrobasilar artery syndrome, Ménière’s disease, and vestibular neuritis.

Patients were divided into acupuncture and control groups. Patients in the acupuncture group had acupoints ST36 (Zusanli) and PC6 (Neiguan) applied with single-use, sterile, 40 x 0.25 mm silver handled acupuncture needles. The needles were manually stimulated to achieve the de qi sensation. Needle retention time was 30 minutes per acupuncture session. The control group received sham acupuncture. Pasting of seed patches were applied to areas approximately 1 cm away from true acupuncture points. Massage and acupressure were not applied to either group.

The study conclusively demonstrates that the application of acupuncture to PC6 and ST36 results in immediate reductions in discomfort and improvements of VAS for dizziness and vertigo. The researchers note that the “study provided clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of acupuncture to treat dizziness and vertigo in (the) emergency department.”

The choice of acupuncture points is consistent with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory. PC6 is indicated for the treatment of nausea, vomiting, asthma, swollen and painful throat, epilepsy, painful ribs and chest, gastralgia, hiccups, palpitations, and asthma. PC6 is located 2 cun above the transverse wrist crease between the tendons of the palmaris longus and flexor carpi radialis. PC6 is a luo point and a confluent point of the yinwei channel. It functions to calm the heart, pacify the spirit, regulate qi, and suppress pain.

ST36 is 3 cun below ST35 and is one finger breadth from the anterior crest of the tibia in the tibialis anterior muscle. ST36 is a he sea, earth, lower he sea of the stomach, gao wu command, heavenly star, and sea of nourishment point. ST36 functions to order the spleen and stomach, regulate qi and blood, and tonify qi. ST36 is indicated for the treatment of gastroenteritis, ulcers, bellyache, abdominal bloating, constipation, dyspepsia, hypertension, epilepsy, and appendicitis.

Heart Rate Variability
A heart rate monitor was used to determine heart rate variability. HRV is the variation in time between heart beats and is an index of the body’s ability to maintain control of the heart beat rate and rhythm through vagus nerve activity. Prior research, including Anderson et al., demonstrates that acupuncture improves heart rate variability. A lowering of HRV is found in unhealthy and highly stressed individuals.

Acupuncture’s ability to raise HRV is of importance because reduced HRV is linked to mortality after myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, diabetic neuropathy, and low survival rates in premature babies. In this recent research, HRV changes were documented because predisposition to autonomic nervous system dysfunctions relating to Ménière’s disease and other causes of dizziness and vertigo may be reflected in HRV values. This new study documents acupuncture’s ability to benefit HRV values.


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