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30-Minute Electroacupuncture Application Found Optimal

Last Updated: August 24, 2009.

Electroacupuncture stimulation, which applies a small electrical current to needles inserted into the acupuncture points, relieves pain best when applied for 30 minutes, according to a study in the September issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Electroacupuncture stimulation, which applies a small electrical current to needles inserted into the acupuncture points, relieves pain best when applied for 30 minutes, according to a study in the September issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Shu-Ming Wang, M.D., from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues performed asynchronous electroacupuncture (alternating low/high [2/100 Hz] frequency at 5 mA) on the lower legs of 56 healthy volunteers for zero, 20, 30, or 40 minutes. Cold was applied and the temperature at which the volunteers felt pain was recorded.

The researchers found that 30 minutes of electroacupuncture reduced pain significantly better than other durations. For the 30-minute duration, the reduced pain was sustained for at least 60 minutes after stimulation was stopped.

"We conclude that the most optimal duration for asynchronous electroacupuncture stimulation is 30 minutes," Wang and colleagues write.

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