Objective: To clarify the role of the abdominal acupuncture points and the frequency of short-term electroacupuncture (EA) stimulation on testicular blood flow (TBF) in humans.
Design: A prospective, randomized study.
Setting: University hospital, Department of Radiology, ultrasound unit.
Patient(s): Eighty healthy male volunteers were randomly allocated to three groups in stage one and to a single group in stage two. In the first stage of the study, the abdominal acupuncture points ST-29 (guilai) were stimulated using simple needle insertion, 2 Hz burst EA or 10 Hz EA, in three different groups. In the second stage of the study, abdominal acupuncture points ST-25 (tianshu) were stimulated with the frequency found to be more effective in stage one. Stimulation was for 5 minutes in each group.
Intervention(s): Electroacupuncture and Doppler flowmeter.
Main Outcome Measure(s): Four groups were compared for volume flow and other related parameters of TBF.
Result(s): The 10-Hz EA stimulation of ST-29 (guilai) increased TBF, but simple needle insertion and 2-Hz burst stimulation did not. The 10-Hz EA stimulation of ST-25 (tianshu) did not result in significant changes in TBF.
Conclusion(s): For the first time point- and frequency-specific effects of abdominal EA on TBF are shown in humans.
Further investigation is required to ascertain whether these findings may be helpful in the clinical treatment of infertile men.