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Acustimulation
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • Acupoint, acupoint stimulation, acupressure, acupuncture, acupuncture point stimulation, acustimulation wristbands, EA, electroacupuncture, Neiguan point (P6), portable TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), shiatsu, TAES, TEAS, transcutaneous acupoint electrical stimulation, transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation, transcutaneous electrical acustimulation.
  • Not included in this discussion: Acupuncture, acupressure, shiatsu, TENS.

Background

  • Acustimulation is the mild electrical stimulation of acupuncture points to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. A low intensity electrical current is used to penetrate just slightly below the surface of the skin.
  • It may be delivered by acupuncture needles attached to electrodes or, more commonly, by battery-powered appliances that can be worn on the body (touching the surface of the skin).
  • The Neiguan point (P6) is an acupuncture point on the wrist that has been used in acupuncture (without electricity) for approximately 3,000 years to overcome gastric symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. This is the most common point used in acustimulation.

Theory

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Evidence

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Safety

Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.