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Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2019 Mar 25;44(3):226-30. doi: 10.13702/j.1000-0607.180502.

[Application of heart rate variability in acupuncture research].

[Article in Chinese]

Author information

Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China.


The measurement of heart rate variability (HRV) has the advantages of noninvasiveness and simple operation and is widely used in clinical trials and scientific research for assessing reactions of the autonomic nervous system. More and more studies on acupuncture also take HRV as an important index. In addition to the definition, origin, analytical methods, and significance of time domain and frequency domain parameters of HRV, we reviewed the situations of application of HRV to acupuncture research in recent years, analyzed the influence of acupuncture and sham acupuncture, different acupuncture methods, and different acupoints on HRV, and confirmed the role of HRV in reflecting the effect of acupuncture on the vagal and sympathetic systems. However, various interference factors for HRV measurement and diverse methods for data analysis may lead to great differences in the experimental results of HRV and the interpretation of parameters. Therefore, careful analysis is needed in future studies on acupuncture with HRV as an observation index.


Acupuncture; Autonomic nervous system modulation; Frequency domain analysis; Heart rate variability; Time domain analysis

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