Isolated and Combined Effects of Electroacupuncture and Meditation in Reducing Experimentally Induced Ischemic Pain: A Pilot StudyReport as inadecuate

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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative MedicineVolume 2011 2011, Article ID 950795, 9 pages

Research Article

Chair of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, 45276 Essen, Germany

Department of Integrative and Complementary Medicine, Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Immanuel Hospital Berlin, Charité University Medical Center Berlin, 14109 Berlin, Germany

Received 10 April 2010; Revised 21 June 2010; Accepted 7 August 2010

Copyright © 2011 Kyung-Eun Choi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Acupuncture and meditation are promising treatment options for clinical pain. However, studies investigating the effects of these methods on experimental pain conditions are equivocal. Here, the effects of electroacupuncture EA and meditation on the submaximum effort tourniquet technique SETT, a well-established, opiate-sensitive pain paradigm in experimental placebo research were studied. Ten experienced meditators 6 male subjects and 13 nonmeditators 6 male subjects were subjected to SETT 250 mmHG on one baseline SETT only and two treatment days additional EA contralaterally to the SETT, either at the leg on ST36 and LV3 or at the arm on LI4 and LI10 in randomized order. Numeric Rating Scale NRS ratings scale 0–10 were recorded every 3 min. During baseline, meditation induced significantly greater pain tolerance in meditators when compared with the control group. Both the EA conditions significantly increased pain tolerance and reduced pain ratings in controls. Furthermore, EA diminished the group difference in pain sensitivity, indicating that meditators had no additional benefit from acupuncture. The data suggest that EA as a presumable bottom-up process may be as effective as meditation in controlling experimental SETT pain. However, no combined effect of both the techniques could be observed.

Author: Kyung-Eun Choi, Frauke Musial, Nadine Amthor, Thomas Rampp, Felix J. Saha, Andreas Michalsen, and Gustav J. Dobos



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