Effects of single-point acupuncture (HT7) in the prevention of test anxiety: Results of a RCT.

Fleckenstein, Johannes; Krüger, Peter; Ittner, Karl-Peter (2018). Effects of single-point acupuncture (HT7) in the prevention of test anxiety: Results of a RCT. PLoS ONE, 13(8), e0202659. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0202659

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BACKGROUND The number of students using neuro enhancement to improve their performance and to prevent test anxiety is increasing. The acupuncture point Heart 7 (HT7) has been described as being prominent in reducing states of anxiety. METHODS We conducted a randomized placebo-controlled, two-armed pilot trial to investigate the efficacy of a single-point acupuncture treatment at bilateral HT7 compared to sham laser acupuncture on test anxiety. Test anxiety was induced applying the standardised protocol of the Trier Social Stress Test. Outcome measures included saliva samples analysed for cortisol and amylase, anxiety questionnaires and heart rate variability. RESULTS Twenty-five male subjects (age 28 ± 5 years) were allocated to either verum acupuncture (n = 12) or sham laser acupuncture (n = 13). Cortisol peaked 20 min after the stress test (2-fold, 18.11 ± 2 nmol/l) and amylase 10 min after (2-fold, 259 ± 49 U/ml) with no difference between groups. There were no differences between groups regarding either anxiety questionnaires or physiological parameters. Compared to reference data (3-fold increase in cortisol), increase in stress hormones and heart rate seemed somewhat reduced. CONCLUSIONS Acupuncture may be a possible approach for the treatment of anxiety. Due to the lack of a no control treatment group, we cannot determine the magnitude of possible specific needle effects at HT7 to promote specific effects in the neuroendocrine system. Finally this study only examines the efficacy of a single time treatment.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (IKIM)

UniBE Contributor:

Fleckenstein, Johannes


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Public Library of Science




Melanie Sabrina Schneider

Date Deposited:

05 Feb 2019 14:32

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 13:41

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






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