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Influence of Acupuncture on Autonomic Balance in Adult Tinnitus Patients: An Exploratory Study

Summary

Acupuncture is an alternative therapy for tinnitus in clinical practice. The mechanism by which acupuncture can alleviate tinnitus is still unknown. Autonomic nervous system was reported to be responsible for tinnitus. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of acupuncture on autonomic balance in adult tinnitus patients. Thirty patients were randomly assigned into either the deep acupuncture (DA) group or the shallow acupuncture (SA) group. Each patient received 6 acupuncture sessions (a–f phase) over three weeks. Measures of heart rate variability and Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) were obtained at baseline and after the sixth acupuncture session in all patients. The results showed that the low frequency/high frequency (LF/HF) pattern was increased at b–f phase until the sixth acupuncture session when compared with that at the first acupuncture session in DA group. However, it continuously increased at b–f phase in SA group even at the sixth acupuncture session, which was not significantly different from that at the first acupuncture session. The decrease in THI in DA group was greater than that in SA group after 3-week treatment (P=0.043). Our preliminary study suggests three-week deep acupuncture can improve tinnitus symptoms in adult tinnitus patients, which may be related to the regulation of autonomic nervous system balance.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank all the patients who participated in the study.

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Correspondence to Gerhard Litscher or Cun-zhi Liu.

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Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors have no conflict of interest.

This study was supported by grants from Beijing Health System (China)-Hight Level Health Technology Talent Cultivation Plan (No. 2011-03-055) and Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research [Sino-Austrian TCM Research on Lifestyle-related Diseases: Innovative Acupuncture (2016-2019)].

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Tu, Jf., Kim, M., Yang, Jw. et al. Influence of Acupuncture on Autonomic Balance in Adult Tinnitus Patients: An Exploratory Study. CURR MED SCI 39, 947–953 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11596-019-2127-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11596-019-2127-y

Key words

  • tinnitus
  • acupuncture
  • heart rate variability
  • autonomic nervous system