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Am J Chin Med. 1982;10(1-4):62-9.

Effects of acupuncture on serum cortisol level and dopamine beta-hydroxylase activity in normal Chinese.


Serum cortisol levels were determined in 40 normal Chinese and dopamine beta-hydroxylase activities were measured in 22 normal subjects before and after acupuncture treatment. All subjects were studied twice with an interval of one week or more. In the self-control study, the subjects were needled at 5 non-acupuncture loci. In the experimental study, they were needled at the following 5 traditional acupuncture loci--right side GB-20, both sides EH-6, and both sides St-36. Blood samples were withdrawn before acupuncture and 15 and 45 min. after acupuncture. No change of serum dopamine beta-hydroxylase activity was observed. Serum cortisol levels increased significantly after needling on the traditional acupuncture loci. After acupuncture for 15 and 45 min., the cortisol increase was 28 and 50%, respectively, as compared to the self-control studies. The beneficial effect of acupuncture in the treatment of functional disorders, therefore, may be mediated by cortisol or other hormones and neurohormones.

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