Skin conductance and heart rate are evaluated in this study as a measure of autonomic response to verum versus sham acupuncture. It is confusing in this abstract whether the pain experienced was experimentally imposed or if the patients were being treated for pain. The conductance increased and heart rate decreased during acupuncture. It’s difficult to tell from this abstract, what happened from there, however. In my own exploration of skin conductance, it often increases during treatment, but unlike HRV did not correlate with positive outcomes. (For info on my practice, click here.)

Autonomic and subjective responses to real and sham acupuncture stimulation.
Kang OS, Chang DS, Lee MH, Lee H, Park HJ, Chae Y.

Acupuncture and Meridian Science Research Center, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea.
Auton Neurosci. 2011 Jan 20;159(1-2):127-30. Epub 2010 Aug 21.

This study compared verum acupuncture (VA) and sham acupuncture (SA) stimulation by assessing autonomic and subjective responses. Autonomic responses such as skin conductance response (SCR) and heart rate (HR) were measured. Subjective pain ratings were collected and evaluated. A correlation analysis was performed for SCR and HR changes and subjective pain ratings. In both VA and SA sessions, SCR increased, and HR decreased. Subjective responses were different for VA and SA. The SCR changes correlated with subjective responses for VA, but not SA. The present results suggest that VA and SA do not fundamentally differ in their autonomic response patterns.