Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Improves Deep Sleep Research

New research confirms that acupuncture enhances slow wave sleep (SWS). Slow wave sleep, commonly referred to as deep sleep, is both the third and fourth stage of non-rapid eye movement sleep. Delta brain waves are dominant during SWS and deep sleep occurs in longer periods in the first three hours of sleep. Children tend to have longer periods of deep sleep while the elderly often experience nights without deep sleep.

The research findings confirm that 100 Hz electro-acupuncture applied to acupoint Anmian (N-HN-54) increases deep sleep but does not affect rapid eye movement sleep (REM). Experimental models used in the deep sleep study demonstrated that k-opiod receptors mediate 100 Hz electro-acupuncture and u-opioid receptors mediate 10 Hz electro-acupuncture. These findings demonstrate that differing electro-acupuncture frequencies activate distinct opiod receptors in the brainstem.

Point and Methodology
The acupuncture point Anmian is located behind the ear, midway between acupuncture points GB20 and TB17. According to Chinese medicine principles, Anmian calms the spirit and pacifies the Liver. Acupuncturists commonly apply this acupoint for the treatment of insomnia, irritability, headaches and hypertension. In the study, electro-acupuncture was applied bilaterally with 1 inch, 32 guage stainless steel acupuncture needles inserted to a depth of 2mm. 100 Hz electro-acupuncture was delivered with an intensity of 3mA with biphasic pulses of 150 microseconds.

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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 715024, 10 pages. doi:10.1155/2012/715024. Kappa-Opioid Receptors in the Caudal Nucleus Tractus Solitarius Mediate 100 Hz Electroacupuncture-Induced Sleep Activities in Rats. Chiung-Hsiang Cheng, Pei-Lu Yi, Han-Han Chang, Yi-Fong Tsai, and Fang-Chia Chang. National Taiwan University, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, Taiwan. Aletheia University, Matou Campus, Beishiliao, Tainan City, Taiwan. China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.