Acupuncture and Stress

Acupuncture blocks cold stress-induced increases in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in the rat.
J Endocrinol. 2013 Mar 15;217(1):95-104. doi: 10.1530/JOE-12-0404. Print 2013 Apr.

Electroacupuncture, known as EA, is effective in treating stress. A study conducted by Eshkeyari L, Permaul E, and Mulroney SE, published in the Journal of Endocrinology in March 2013 found that using electroacupuncture at acupoint stomach 36 was able to stop certain hormone (such as cortisol) increases in the hypothalamus-pituitary-axis, which may be the reason that EA is effective in alleviating stress. Rats were divided into 4 groups; 3 of these groups were exposed to cold temperatures and one was a non-treatment control group. Before the cold exposure, one of the cold groups had electroacupuncture at acupoint stomach 36 and one had sham-electroacupuncture. The group that received EA at acupoint stomach 36 had significant decreases in peripheral HP hormones such as adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol compared to the other stress animals. In addition, corticotropic-releasing hormones were significantly decreased in the EA stomach 36 group. These factors indicate that preventing these stress-induced elevations may be key in the effectiveness of electroacupuncture for stress.