Acupuncture for Symptom Management in a Menopausal Population: An Exploration of Mechanism and Experience
AuthorWright, Cheryl LeAnn
Committee ChairBerg, Judith
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis early phase study examined the effects of a series of ten standard-protocol acupuncture treatments over four weeks in 12 healthy, but symptomatic, menopausal women. Two biologic markers, heart rate variability to evaluate effects of acupuncture on the autonomic nervous system as it relates specifically to the heart, and interleukin 6, a proinflammatory cytokine, to capture physiologic impact of acupuncture on the immune-inflammatory response, were collected.Women who exhibited significant menopausal symptoms, as measured by a minimum score of 22 out of a possible 44 points on the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS), underwent 10 sessions of a standard acupuncture point protocol intervention over a four-week period. Symptoms were evaluated for 28 days using the MRS. After the intervention was complete, one final open-ended question was asked of each participant to explore subjective experiences not captured by the validated instrument. Physiologic measurements included a 30-minute continuous measure of electrocardiogram data before and during acupuncture, as well as pre and post acupuncture measures of serum interleukin 6 at the first and final acupuncture treatment. Heart rate variability was assessed using spectral analysis, and interleukin 6 changes were measured using ELISA. Analysis included linear regression, Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test and Spearman correlation coefficients.After the acupuncture intervention, menopausal symptoms improved significantly. Heart rate variability did not show consistent or predictable intra or inter-subject changes, however several components of HRV, interleukin 6 and symptoms were found to have significant correlations.A larger study was deemed feasible. Menopause symptoms improved. Heart rate variability showed no consistent changes or trends. Interleukin 6 decreased in seven subjects, between the first and tenth acupuncture treatment, but did not reach statistical significance.This small project suggests that heart rate variability, when measured at each acupuncture treatment, does not change in a consistent or predictable manner. Rather, acupuncture may provide a modulating influence that depends on the body's functional state at each treatment.