Effects of Acupuncture on Autonomic Nervous System Parameters and Salivary Cortisol Level Among Mental Stress University Students: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial


  • Sulukkana Noiprasert School of Integrative Medicine, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand & Mae Fah Luang University Hospital, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand
  • Vitsarut Buttagat School of Integrative Medicine, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand & Mae Fah Luang University Hospital, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand
  • Phakkharawat Sittiprapaporn Neuropsychological Research Laboratory, Neuroscience Research Center, School of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Mae Fah Luang University, Bangkok 57100, Thailand
  • Akarat Sivaphongthongchai College of Public Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
  • Parichart Hongsing School of Integrative Medicine, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand & Mae Fah Luang University Hospital, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand




Acupuncture, acupoint, autonomic nervous system, stress level, alternative medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, cortisol level


Stress is a common and often unavoidable aspect of daily life that can negatively impact the autonomic nervous system, which controls the functions of internal organs and glands. Chronic stress has been associated with an imbalance in autonomic nervous system function, leading to a range of health conditions. Acupuncture is a medical treatment modality that has been applied to health care in different dimensions including physical, mental, and spiritual. This study aimed to investigate the effect of acupuncture on blood pressure, heart rate, and salivary cortisol level in mild stress university students, a population particularly vulnerable to stress. Twenty-eight university students were recruited and divided into two groups, a real acupuncture group and a sham acupuncture group. Heart rate, blood pressure, and salivary cortisol level were evaluated before and after a 30-minute acupuncture session on the ST36 acupoint. The results showed that the real acupuncture group had a significant decrease in blood pressure and heart rate, whereas the sham acupuncture group showed no change. Both groups had a slightly decrease in salivary cortisol level with no statistically significant. There was a statistically significant difference in the decrease of systolic blood pressure and heart rate after acupuncture between the two groups, but there was no significant difference between the groups in salivary cortisol level after acupuncture. The findings suggest that the acupuncture can be a valuable treatment for restoring balance to the symptoms of the autonomic nervous system in university students experiencing stress. A larger sample size, a non-intervention control, as well as different sources and times of cortisol collection, could contribute to the validation of the findings in this study.


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How to Cite

Noiprasert, S., Buttagat, V., Sittiprapaporn, P., Sivaphongthongchai, A., & Hongsing, P. (2024). Effects of Acupuncture on Autonomic Nervous System Parameters and Salivary Cortisol Level Among Mental Stress University Students: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial . Journal of Current Science and Technology, 14(2). https://doi.org/10.59796/jcst.V14N2.2024.25



Research Article