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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 506317, 7 pages
Research Article

The Effects of Sa-Am Acupuncture Treatment on Respiratory Physiology Parameters in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patients: A Pilot Study

1Department of Acupuncture & Moxibustion, Wonkwang University Korean Medical Hospital, 543-8 Juwol Dong, Nam-gu, Gwangju 503-310, Republic of Korea
2ALS Center of Wonkwang University Korean Medical Hospital, 543-8 Juwol Dong, Nam-gu, Gwangju 503-310, Republic of Korea

Received 26 February 2013; Revised 25 July 2013; Accepted 25 July 2013

Academic Editor: Lixing Lao

Copyright © 2013 Sangmi Lee and Sungchul Kim. 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.


Respiratory dysfunction and complications are the most common causes of death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This is a pilot study to observe the changes in respiratory physiology parameters after Sa-am acupuncture treatment. Eighteen ALS patients received Sa-am acupuncture treatment twice a day for 5 days. The EtCO2, SpO2, RR, and pulse rate were measured for 15 min before and during treatment, using capnography and oximetry. Correlation of K-ALSFRS-R scores against measured parameters showed that patients who had high K-ALSFRS-R scores had greater changes in pulse rate after acupuncture stimulation; they also showed a decrease in EtCO2, RR, and pulse rate and an increase in SpO2. A comparison of the mean values of these different parameters before and after Sa-am acupuncture stimulation revealed statistically significant differences ( ) in SpO2 and pulse rate, but none in EtCO2 and RR. Sa-am acupuncture treatment on ALS patients seems to be more effective in the early stages of the disease. In light of increased SpO2 values, Sa-am acupuncture appears to have a greater effect on inspiration rather than on expiration. As a pilot study of acupuncture on ALS patients, this study could be used as a basis for future research.