Acupoint dependence of depressor and bradycardic responses elicited by manual acupuncture stimulation in humans

  • Hidehiro NakaharaEmail author
  • Toru Kawada
  • Shin-ya Ueda
  • Eriko Kawai
  • Hiromi Yamamoto
  • Masaru Sugimachi
  • Tadayoshi Miyamoto
Original Paper


The cardiovascular effects of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) are modulated by inputs from peripheral sensors and other brain regions. However, it currently remains unknown whether the manual acupuncture (MA) stimulation of different acupuncture points evokes different responses by the heart and vasculature, a phenomenon known as “site specificity”. Sixty healthy subjects were randomly divided into a control group and MA stimulation groups at the lower leg, ear, abdomen, and forearm. MA was performed at 1 Hz for 2 min. A depressor response was observed only in the lower leg stimulation group, in which mean blood pressure significantly decreased from 83.4 ± 10.1 to 80.9 ± 11.7 mmHg (p < 0.003). A bradycardic response was elicited in all MA stimulation groups. There was no significant differences in the magnitude of the bradycardic response between groups. MA-induced cardiovascular responses, which may be mediated by the modulation of ANS, differ depending on acupuncture points.


Acupuncture Blood pressure Heart rate 


Author contributions

HN and TM: designed the study, analyzed data, and drafted the manuscript; SU and EK: drafted the manuscript and acquired data; TK, HY, and MS: interpreted data and drafted the manuscript; HN, TK, SU, EK, HY, MS, and TM: edited and revised the manuscript and approved the final version.


This study was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 24700768.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Experimental protocols were approved (No. 4) by the Ethics Committee of Morinomiya University of Medical Sciences. The present study was conducted in accordance with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects after they were given full explanations of the objectives, methods, and potential risks of the study.


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Copyright information

© The Physiological Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hidehiro Nakahara
    • 1
    Email author
  • Toru Kawada
    • 2
  • Shin-ya Ueda
    • 3
  • Eriko Kawai
    • 4
  • Hiromi Yamamoto
    • 5
  • Masaru Sugimachi
    • 2
  • Tadayoshi Miyamoto
    • 6
  1. 1.Graduate School of Health SciencesMorinomiya University of Medical SciencesOsakaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Cardiovascular DynamicsNational Cerebral and Cardiovascular CenterOsakaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Physical Education, Faculty of EducationGifu UniversityGifuJapan
  4. 4.Osaka City University Graduate School of MedicineOsakaJapan
  5. 5.Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of MedicineKindai UniversitySayama, OsakaJapan
  6. 6.Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Faculty of Sport and Health SciencesOsaka Sangyo UniversityDaito, OsakaJapan

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