Fan Qu and Jue Zhou, eCAM 2007;4(1)125–130
Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
A group of women (36) about to give birth to their first child were divided into an electro-acupuncture group or a control group and the intensity of the pain. The acupuncture group were seen to be more relaxed and had less pain.
To study the efficacy of electro-acupuncture for the relief of labor pain, and to build a better
understanding of how electro-acupuncture might influence the neuroendocrine system, 36 primiparas were randomly divided into an electro-acupuncture group and a control group. Assessments of pain intensity and degree of relaxation during labor were analyzed. The differences between the electroacupuncture group and the control group on the concentration of b-endorphin (b-EP) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in the peripheral blood were compared. The electro-acupuncture group was found to exhibit a lower pain intensity and a better degree of relaxation than the control group (p ¼ 0.018; p ¼ 0.031). There existed a significant difference in the concentration of b-EP and 5-HT in the peripheral blood between the two groups at the end of the first stage (p ¼ 0.037; p ¼ 0.030). Electroacupuncture was found to be an effective alternative or complementary therapy in the relief of pain during labor. The benefit of electro-acupuncture for relieving labor pain may be based on the mechanism of producing a synergism of the central nervous system (CNS) with a direct impact on the uterus through increasing the release of b-EP and 5-HT into the peripheral blood.
Keywords: electro-acupuncture – labor pain – b-endorphin (b-EP) – 5-hydroxytryptamine(5-HT)