A French pilot study suggests that preoperative acupuncture administered to the ear, reduces the dose of drugs needed to achieve subsequent general anaesthesia. A total of 32 patients aged 18 to 65 awaiting elective digestive or gynaecological surgery, were allocated to receive either acupuncture or no acupuncture as a control group. Needles were retained for 20 minutes before administering conventional anaesthetics. The required dose was 18% lower in the acupuncture group. The study authors believe acupuncture may exert its effects in this case via the vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system.
(Effect of Auricular Acupuncture on Propofol Induction Dose: Could Vagus Nerve and Parasympathetic Stimulation Replace Intravenous Co-Induction Agents? Medical Acupuncture, 15 April 2019.)