Acupuncture treatment frequently evokes both pain and fear, causing patients to be hesitant about undergoing the procedure. This study investigated individual differences in autonomic response to acupuncture stimulation and its relationship to fear of the procedure.


Twenty-seven participants filled out the acupuncture fear scale (AFS) questionnaire and underwent acupuncture stimulation at the LI4 acupuncture point. Autonomic responses were measured by recording the skin conductance response (SCR) throughout acupuncture stimulation. Pearson correlation analysis was performed between the self-reported AFS scores and changes in SCR.


After acupuncture stimulation, SCR significantly increased and there were greater individual differences in enhanced sympathetic activations to acupuncture stimulation. Changes in SCR correlated with scores for the painful sensation domain of the AFS.


Our results indicate that fear of acupuncture-induced pain is associated with physiological arousal when people receive acupuncture stimulation. Fear of pain is the dominant factor in acupuncture-related fear and it should be considered in practice and in research. Click here to read original article content.

Article Courtesy of NCBI – Is Lee, HJ Jo, SH Lee, H Lee, H Lee, HJ Park, Y Chae