In the west this is far less common than in China, but acupuncture is very commonly used along with general anesthesia (or in lieu of in some cases). Acupuncture anesthesia is safer with regards to be non drug induced and much less expensive and can be used on cases where general anesthesia cannot or would lead to possible complications (brain, heart, abdominal, etc.).
This particular study from the Journal of Integrative Medicine used acupuncture for recovery from surgical anesthesia. Using measures such as time to spontaneous eye opening and time to following commands they evaluated different points. The researchers divided 50 post surgical anesthesia patients into 5 groups - a KD 1 acupuncture point group, a GV 26 group, and KD 1 with GV 26 group, a sham group and a non acupuncture group.
In general clinical practice, KD 1 is used to descend energy from the head in the case of headaches, hypertension, etc. but is also commonly used for what loss of consciousness. GV 26 is the command point for fainting and collapse.
The researchers found that recovery values were higher in the treatment groups and highest in the point combination group than the two controls (sham and no acupuncture). They concluded that "acupuncture GV 26 and KD 1 accelerates recovery of consciousness after general anesthesia".
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