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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 329746, 6 pages
Research Article

Can Tongue Acupuncture Enhance Body Acupuncture? First Results from Heart Rate Variability and Clinical Scores in Patients with Depression

1Department of Acupuncture, People’s Liberation Army General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China
2Research Unit for Complementary and Integrative Laser Medicine, Research Unit of Biomedical Engineering in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, and TCM Research Center Graz, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 29, 8036 Graz, Austria
3Private Clinic Laßnitzhöhe, 8301 Laßnitzhöhe, Austria

Received 4 February 2014; Revised 17 February 2014; Accepted 25 February 2014; Published 23 March 2014

Academic Editor: Cun-Zhi Liu

Copyright © 2014 Xian Shi 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.


Tongue acupuncture (TA) is a method which is not used in western medicine and even in China it is applied very rarely in clinical practice. This study aimed at investigating whether additional TA can improve the efficacy of body acupuncture (BA) in patients with depression. Twenty patients with a mean age of ± SD of years were randomly divided into two groups ( patients each), one group receiving BA (Zusanli, Sanyinjiao, Neiguan, Shenting, Yintang, and Baihui) and the other receiving BA and TA (Liver, Heart, and Brain). The quantitative and qualitative outcome measures were heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV), and different clinical scores. We found that in both groups all scores and HR improved significantly, whereas HRV increased partly significantly. It seems that TA can enhance acute and treatment effects of BA in patients with depression. The investigation of de qi sensation in TA needs further attention.