In the final section of the Austrian study, 24 hour Heart Rate Variability (HRV) monitoring was performed on 9 patients with chronic fatigue. The really fascinating result in this study, both from a clinical and scientific standpoint is that not only did the patients HRV improve, but their sleep wake cycle was restored to normal. In one illustrative patient, there was no discernible autonomic difference in the patients readings during a 24 hour cycle when the patient started. By the fourth session there was a discernible difference between day and night, and by the end of the 10 sessions there was significant clinical improvement. This could be of some importance since there often is marked sleep disturbance in patients with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Some of the clinical benefit seen with acupuncture for chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia could be from improving patients’ sleep quality, in addition to decreasing the stress response. (See pictures at end of post.)

The study was performed as follows.
There were a total of ten acupuncture sessions for each patient. The patients had 2 or 3 24 hour HRV measurements done. One was before treatment began, then after the 4th treatment and then after the 10th treatment.
The point selection was Xinshu BL15,Geshu BL17, ShenshuBL23, Dachangshu BL25. In the one illustrative patient mentioned above, a diagnosis of Kidney Qi deficiency was ascribed. In addition to the points described above ear acupuncture was applied at Shenmen , liver (97)and an antidepression point (psychotropic point 3), and laser acupuncture (dichromatic red 685 nm and infrared 785 nm; 30-40 mW, diameter 500 mm, duration 10 minutes) were performed at the acupoints Hegu (LI4) and Zusanli (ST36).
Before treatment

After 10 treatments.

(To read more about acupuncture and my practice, please click here.)