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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2010, Vol. 8 ›› Issue (2): 126-130.doi: 10.3736/jcim20100206

• Original Clinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Scalp penetration acupuncture for insomnia: A randomized controlled trial

Zhang-ling Zhoua, Xian Shia, Shao-dan Lib, Ling Guana   

  1. a Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, General Hospital of Peopled Liberation Army, Beijing 100853, China
    b Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, General Hospital of Peopled Liberation Army, Beijing 100853, China
  • Received:2009-09-22 Accepted:2010-01-20 Online:2010-02-20 Published:2010-02-15
  • Contact: Zhang-ling Zhou


Insomnia has become a threat to public health, and acupuncture has shown an advantage in treatment of insomnia with good efficacy and few side effects.

To observe the therapeutic effects of scalp penetration acupuncture for insomnia.
Design, setting, participants and interventions

A total of 70 insomnia cases meeting inclusion criteria from Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, General Hospital of People's Liberation Army were randomly divided into routine acupuncture group and scalp penetration acupuncture group. There were 32 cases in the scalp penetration acupuncture group, and 34 cases in the routine acupuncture group, for four cases lost to follow-up. The insomnia patients were all treated for four weeks.
Main outcome measures

The therapeutic effects, cumulative scores of Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and contents of sleep architecture were compared before and after treatment in the two groups.

The total response rate of 90.6% in the scalp penetration acupuncture group was higher than 73.5% in the routine acupuncture group (P<0.05), and the improvements of PSQI cumulative scores in sleep quality, sleep time and sleep efficiency in the scalp penetration acupuncture group were superior to those in the routine acupuncture group (P<0.05, P<0.01). The total sleep time and deep sleep time of sleep architecture in the scalp penetration acupuncture group significantly increased as compared with those in the routine acupuncture group (P<0.01).

The therapeutic effects of scalp penetration acupuncture are better than those of routine acupuncture, especially for improving sleep quality, sleep time and sleep efficiency.

Key words: Insomnia, Acupuncture and moxibustion, Scalp acupuncture, Randomized controlled trial

Figure 1

Flow diagram of this randomized trial"

Table 1

PSQI component scores before and after treatment in two groups ($\bar{x}±s$)"

Routine acupuncture group (n=34) Scalp penetration acupuncture group (n=32)
PSQI component Before treatment After treatment Difference Before treatment After treatment Difference
Sleep quality 2.69±0.48 1.23±0.55** 1.45±0.72 2.84±0.37 0.90±0.60** 1.94±0.91
Time of getting to sleep 2.09±0.78 1.08±0.75** 1.01±0.57 2.39±0.56 1.16±0.45** 1.23±0.76
Sleep time 2.94±0.48 1.68±1.18** 1.26±0.81 2.94±0.25 1.19±0.60** 1.75±0.88
Sleep efficiency 2.81±0.41 1.65±0.85** 1.16±0.55 2.90±0.40 0.81±0.65** 2.09±0.32△△
Sleep disorders 1.58±0.48 1.04±0.48** 0.54±0.30 1.52±0.63 1.10±0.47** 0.42±0.22
Hypnotic drug 1.62±0.51 0.88±0.57** 0.75±0.61 2.03±1.17 0.65±0.55** 1.38±0.94
Daytime function 2.64±0.82 1.42±1.21** 1.22±0.73 2.33±1.15 1.26±0.96** 1.18±0.78
PSQI cumulative score 16.37±3.11 8.78±3.92** 7.59±3.01 16.97±2.33 7.16±2.22** 9.81±4.03△**

Table 2

Various components of sleep architecture before and after treatment in two groups ($\bar{x}±s$, min)"

Component of
sleep architecture
Routine acupuncture group (n=34) Scalp penetration acupuncture group (n=32)
Before treatment After treatment Difference Before treatment After treatment Difference
Total sleep time 393.40±26.78 409.07±33.17* 15.66±5.31 411.22±68.02 442.78±40.50* 31.49±11.09△△
Deep sleep time 17.36±10.08 22.18±10.84 4.86±2.24 21.09±16.28 38.09±14.60** 17.05±9.37△△
Total time of awakening 36.72±20.15 23.50±11.07** 13.27±8.65 33.04±27.47 18.39±16.15* 14.71±7.34
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