Background: Acupuncture is one of the most popular forms of complementary medicine and can be used for a variety of health conditions. Acupuncture is hypothesized to modulate the autonomic nervous system. The analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) has recently been used as a sensitive index of autonomic nervous system activity (LEE et al. 2010).
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to test the hypothesis that HRV can be modified by acupuncture and electroacupuncture of Pericardium 6 (Pe6) and Heart 7 (He7).
Methods: A total of twelve healthy dogs were chosen for this study. Each dog runs through control-test (test K), acupuncture-test (test A) and electroacupuncture-test (test E). In test A and E the ECG was recorded 15 minutes before, 15 minutes while and 15 minutes after treatment. The ECG of test K was recorded for 30 minutes. The HRV was calculated from the measured ECG. The standard deviation of all normal RR intervals (SDNN) and the square root of the mean of the squared differences between successive RR intervals (RMSSD) of control-tests HRV were compared to HRV of acupuncture-test and electroacupuncture-test.
Results: No significant effect on HRV in healthy dogs could be observed. Neither acupuncture nor electroacupuncture of Pe6 and He7 has any significant effect on HRV. Sedation was observed in a few dogs during and after acupuncture and eletroacupuncture treatment.
Conclusion: Several clinical trials showed positive effects of acupuncture on HRV and autonomic nervous system. The method used in this study produced no significant effect of acupuncture and eletroacupuncture on HRV in healthy dogs.