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01.12.2017 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 1/2017

Case report: fainting during acupuncture stimulation at acupuncture point LI4

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2017
O sang Kwon, Kwang-Ho Choi, Junbeom Kim, Seong Jin Cho, Suk-Yun Kang, Ji-Young Moon, Yeon Hee Ryu



Fainting is one of the major adverse events that can occur as a result of acupuncture treatment. However, the observation of changes in biological parameters is rarely available when fainting occurs. In this case report, we could observe changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG) in a participant who fainted while participating in a clinical trial aiming to observe a relationship between acupuncture stimulation at LI4 acupuncture point and EEG in healthy adults.

Case presentation

The EEG pattern of participant changed twice. The first change was in response to the acupuncture needle insertion, and the second change occurred during fainting. Both changes consisted of a burst in EEG amplitude, but the pattern of details was different. Multiple areas of the cortex were activated, and the increased ratio of the γ wave was not observed during fainting. While acupuncture needle insertion, only the sensory cortex were activated and increased the ratio of the γ wave.


This single case is presented to improve the understanding of fainting during acupuncture as an adverse event and to explore the mechanism of acupuncture treatment, despite the absence of statistics and repeatability. This information can provide a new viewpoint about the mechanism of acupuncture treatment and the possibility of new techniques based on acupuncture.
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