Physiologic Effects Of Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves stimulation of specific anatomical locations on the skin to alter energy flow patterns throughout the body. The skin can be stimulated by manual or electrical stimulation or the more typical placement of small metallic needles. Acupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years; there has been a surge of interest in these nontraditional methodologies in the United States.

Acupuncture has been utilized for treatment and prevention of multiple health conditions, such as chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, obesity, substance abuse, and asthma. Stress response and cardiovascular effects of pain have reportedly been attenuated by nonpharmacological techniques such as acupuncture; it modulates the body's pain system, increases the release of endogenous opioids (53), and/or decreases postoperative pain (54). In a feline cardiovascular model, the utilization of electro-acupuncture induced improvements in regional cardiac wall motion activity during myocardial ischemia (55). Furthermore, acupressure applied to females undergoing elective cesarean section with spinal anesthesia displayed a reduction in nausea and vomiting (56).

The potential advantages of acupuncture for the treatment of medical conditions continue to be investigated. With initial studies indicating numerous promising benefits of acupuncture for treatment of multiple medical conditions, the National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference has recommended that acupuncture be included in comprehensive management and may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative (57). Finally, limitations in the validation of acupuncture may stem from difficulty creating randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical studies.


General and regional anesthesia are often associated with disregulation of body temperature and thus decreases in core body temperature. Most of the body heat lost during anesthesia is via convection and radiation, with some losses caused by conduction and evaporation. Principally, anesthetics cause the core body heat to redistribute to the periphery, resulting in a drop in core body temperature (58). Under anesthesia, patients become poikilotherms (have minimal ability to thermoregu-late). Therefore, multiple modalities to maintain normothermia during surgery have been developed, including forced-air warming devices, fluid warmers, ventilator humidifiers, water mattresses and vests, radiant lamps, and warm blankets. Other modalities for warming patients include altering ambient room temperatures or the temperatures of irrigation solutions.

Importantly, postoperative hypothermia may be associated with (1) delayed awakening from general anesthesia, (2) slowed drug metabolism, (3) coagulopathy, (4) vasoconstriction and poor tissue perfusion, (5) increases in blood viscosity, and/or (6) induced shivering. Importantly, postoperative shiver may be detrimental in patients with coronary artery disease because shivering causes increases in oxygen consumption and tachycardia. Currently, meperidine is clinically approved for treatment of excessive shivering in postoperative situations.


Acupuncture For Cynics

Acupuncture For Cynics

Have You Always Been Curious About Acupuncture, But Were Never Quite Sure Where To Stick The Needles? If you associate acupuncture with needles, pain and weird alternative medicine then you are horribly misinformed about the benefits of the world's oldest form of medicinal treatment.

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