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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 714391, 8 pages
Research Article

Brain-Modulated Effects of Auricular Acupressure on the Regulation of Autonomic Function in Healthy Volunteers

1TCM Research Center Graz and Research Unit of Biomedical Engineering in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 29, 8036 Graz, Austria
2Department of Physiology, Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China

Received 19 May 2011; Accepted 11 June 2011

Academic Editor: Rui Chen

Copyright © 2012 Xin-Yan Gao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Auricular acupuncture has been described in ancient China as well as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. At the end of the 1950s, ear acupuncture was further developed by the French physician Dr. Paul Nogier. The goal of this study was to develop a new system for ear acupressure (vibration stimulation) and to perform pilot investigations on the possible acute effects of vibration and manual ear acupressure on heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV), pulse wave velocity (PWV), and the augmentation index (AIx) using new noninvasive recording methods. Investigations were performed in 14 healthy volunteers (mean age ± SD: 2 6 . 3 ± 4 . 3 years; 9 females, 5 males) before, during, and after acupressure vibration and manual acupressure stimulation at the “heart” auricular acupuncture point. The results showed a significant decrease in HR ( 𝑃 0 . 0 0 1 ) and a significant increase in HRV total ( 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 8 ) after manual ear acupressure. The PWV decreased markedly (yet insignificantly) whereas the AIx increased immediately after both methods of stimulation. The increase in the low-frequency band of HRV was mainly based on the intensification of the related mechanism of blood pressure regulation (10-s-rhythm). Further studies in Beijing using animal models and investigations in Graz using human subjects are already in progress.