Reflex Auriculo-Cardiac (RAC) Induced by Auricular Laser and Needle Acupuncture: New Case Results Using a Smartphone

Ying Ling Chen, Kun Chan Lan, Mark C. Hou, He Hsi Tsai, Gerhard Litscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reflex auriculo-cardiac (RAC), dynamic pulse reaction (Nogier reflex), or vascular autonomic signal was proposed by Nogier. It refers to the pulse changes that can occur in the radial artery immediately after auricular acupuncture is performed. RAC is helpful for the clinical practice of auricular acupuncture, but there is a lack of objective verification methods. Photoplethysmography (PPG) has been used to objectively calculate radial artery blood flow. This study used PPG via a smartphone to measure RAC induced by auricular acupuncture. Thirty subjects without major diseases were recruited to receive traditional needle and laser acupuncture. The Shen Men ear point and control points were stimulated for 20 s. PPG was continuously measured during the acupuncture. The PPG data were tested for differences with a paired t-test. The results showed that there were no statistical differences in the frequency and amplitude of PPG obtained before and after acupuncture, either with a traditional needle or laser acupuncture. However, interestingly, it was found that one patient with insomnia, one patient with viral respiratory symptoms, and two menstruating females exhibited changes in PPG within five seconds of needle placement. We hypothesized that RAC might be induced by auricular acupuncture and could be quantified by PPG, even among subjects suffering from mild diseases; however, auricular acupuncture might not induce a measurable RAC in totally healthy subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number853
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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