ACUPUNCTURE AND BLOOD FLOW; Changes of Local Blood Flow in Response to Acupuncture Stimulation: A Systematic Review

Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Song-Yi Kim etal, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 9874207

doi: 10.1155/2016/9874207

This systemic review collected randomised control trials done on human subjects, that fitted strict inclusion criteria.

Of 8 RCTs, 7 indicated significant increases in microcirculation after acupuncture treatment.


Objectives. This systematic review aimed to summarize and evaluate the findings of studies investigating the local microcirculatory effects following acupuncture stimulation. Methods. MEDLINE, EMBASE, OASIS, and Cochrane library were searched to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published before January 30, 2015. Studies demonstrating any type of microcirculation response to manual acupuncture in healthy subjects and patients were included. The risk of bias and the reliability of the experimental conditions were evaluated to determine quality assessment. Results. Eight RCTs met the inclusion criteria; there was at least one acupuncture-induced change in a microcirculatory parameter. Of the seven studies in healthy subjects, four reported significant increases in blood flow following acupuncture compared with control, whereas one other study observed reductions in microcirculation immediately after acupuncture needling. The studies that assessed patients with either fibromyalgia or trapezius myalgia found significant increases in blood flow in the skin and muscle. Additionally, the degree and duration of increases in microcirculation varied depending on the condition of the subjects and the manipulation technique. Conclusions. The current evidence regarding the local effects of acupuncture in terms of blood flow remains insufficient for reliable conclusions due to few well-designed studies. Additional well-designed studies are needed to clarify these issues.