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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 4 (2007), Issue 1, Pages 125-130
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nel053
Original Article

Electro-Acupuncture in Relieving Labor Pain

Fan Qu1,2 and Jue Zhou1

1Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine, Harbin, China
2Heilongjiang Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower, No.78-1 in Yanxing Road, Nangang District, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, 150080, China

Received 12 October 2005; Accepted 5 July 2006

Copyright © 2007 Fan Qu and Jue Zhou. 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.

Abstract

To study the efficacy of electro-acupuncture for the relief of labor pain, and to build a better understanding of how electro-acupuncture might influence the neuroendocrine system, 36 primiparas were randomly divided into an electro-acupuncture group and a control group. Assessments of pain intensity and degree of relaxation during labor were analyzed. The differences between the electro-acupuncture group and the control group on the concentration of β-endorphin (β-EP) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in the peripheral blood were compared. The electro-acupuncture group was found to exhibit a lower pain intensity and a better degree of relaxation than the control group (p = 0.018; p = 0.031). There existed a significant difference in the concentration of β-EP and 5-HT in the peripheral blood between the two groups at the end of the first stage (p = 0.037; p = 0.030). Electro-acupuncture was found to be an effective alternative or complementary therapy in the relief of pain during labor. The benefit of electro-acupuncture for relieving labor pain may be based on the mechanism of producing a synergism of the central nervous system (CNS) with a direct impact on the uterus through increasing the release of β-EP and 5-HT into the peripheral blood.