Mechanism of the Inhibitory Effect of Electroacupuncture on Experimental Arrhythmias


Clinical observations reported that acupuncture can alleviate several kinds of arrhythmias. To explore its efficacy and mechanism, we have studied the electroacupuncture (EA) inhibition on experimental arrhythmias in rabbits since 1980s and analyzed its mechanism. These studies were mostly conducted in the Department of Physiology, Shanghai Medical University; recently the mechanism of acupuncture’s effect on arrhythmias was analyzed in the School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, which involves the following: (1)the inhibitory effect of EA on ventricular extrasystoles can be induced by hypothalamic defense area stimulation: a low-current and low-frequency stimulation of the median nerve underneath acupoints P 5 or deep peroneal nerve underneath S 36 can activate arcuate nucleus–ventral periaqueductal gray –nuclei raphe pathway and release endorphin, enkephaline, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), etc., thus inhibiting the rostral ventrolateral medulla (rVLM), decreasing sympathetic outflow, and alleviating ventricular extrasystoles; (2) the bradycardia induced by stimulation of aortic depressor nerve can be blocked by stimulation of superficial radial nerve (underneath LI 6–7) or superficial peroneal nerve (underneath G37–39): these stimulations activate the rVLM release opioids and GABA to inhibit nucleus tractus solitarius and vagal nuclei, and block vagal bradycardia. These experimental data explore the mechanism of acupuncture’s effect on arrhythmias and are useful for clinical application.

Original paper submitted by Peng Li and stephanie C. Tjen-A-Looi for

the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies. To read the original article, click here.



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Tian’s full name is Tian Nu San Hua which translates to Angel Throwing Flowers Throughout Chinese history, Tian Nu has been associated with many stories and legends. She is known as the bringer of good news, knowledge and truth and would deliver these gifts by spreading flowers. If you were lucky enough to be touched by one of her flowers, you would receive these valuable gifts. Later in Chinese Taoist history, it was said that Tian Nu spread flowers to help heal those suffering from an epidemic. Tian's News is the official blog for MCOM and is maintained by the Marketing Director of Midwest College of Oriental Medicine. Articles that are relevant to the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture and Herbs are shared as well as papers and articles written by MCOM graduates, current students, and faculty. Questions and concerns should be directed to

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