Auricular acupuncture decreases anxiety before C-section
Auricular acupuncture (AA) can decrease maternal anxiety before caesarean section, according to a study carried out by French researchers. Ninety-one pregnant women scheduled for caesarean section under spinal anaesthesia were randomised to receive AA, sham auricular acupuncture (SAA) or usual care (no intervention). In the AA group, all patients received ear acupuncture using three adhesive microneedles applied at MA-TF1 (apex of the triangular fossa), MA-LO1 (central side of the ear lobe) and MA-TG2-TG4 (along the length of the vertically ascending tragus) of the right ear. Needles were retained throughout the C-section procedure, and removed on admission to the post-anaesthesia care unit. In the SAA group, patients received adhesive plasters without needles applied to the same points. AA led to a 19% decrease in maternal anxiety levels immediately before beginning the surgical procedure, compared with a 21% increase in anxiety reported with sham AA, which was a significant difference. The effect of AA was more significant in women with low initial anxiety. The proportion of patients reaching clinically significant anxiety reduction (greater than 33% from baseline) was 2.5 times higher in the AA group compared with the sham group. A non-significant trend toward improvement was observed when comparing AA with usual care. No effect of AA was noted on parasympathetic tone.