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Korean J Anesthesiol > Volume 57(1); 2009 > Article
Korean Journal of Anesthesiology 2009;57(1):3-7.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4097/kjae.2009.57.1.3   
Tae Soo Hahm
Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. tshahm@skku.edu
Electrical stimulation of acupoint (EA), a form of electrotherapy, involves passing an electrical current via pairs of acupuncture needles attached to a device that generates an electrical pulse. This electrical generator is used to control and adjust the stimulus parameters. EA is quite similar to traditional acupuncture in that the same points are stimulated. However, EA stimulates a larger area than a specific point. In addition, greater control of stimulus parameters is possible with EA, which results in its being reproducible and objective. EA has been used to treat in various conditions, including musculoskeletal disorders and as a form of anesthesia. Additionally, EA reportedly relieve pain and inflammation, and reduce nausea and vomiting. Although the mechanism by which EA functions has not yet fully elucidated, some of its action on the endogenous opioids system through multiple neuronal pathways has been indentified. It has also been shown that the released neurotransmitters are dependent on stimulation frequencies, although there is considerably overlap. Although EA is increasingly used to treat various clinical conditions, there are insufficient scientific evidences available regarding its efficacy. There is no established optimal protocol of EA treatment (optimal parameter, frequency of treatment, duration of a treatment session). Moreover, the exact mechanism by which EA treats underlying conditions. Therefore, for EA to be recognized as an established mode of treatment, further studies are warranted to assess its scientific and systematic efficacy and to clarify the mechanism underlying its effects.
Key Words: Electroacupuncture; Indication; Parameter
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