Insomnia is a common disease associated with different nervous system stress response and endocrine disorders. It has been reported previously that abdominal vibration and ring massage therapy can significantly improve the symptoms of insomnia patients, enhance the activity of neurons. In addition, functional MRI (resting state brain functional magnetic resonance imaging [Rs_fMRI]) of the resting state brain test has proved that the functional connection between hypothalamus and parahippocampal gyrus could be significantly enhanced after abdominal massage treatment. It has been confirmed that there is possible involvement of brain-gut interaction effect in the treatment of insomnia, but there is a lack of research to elucidate the possible mechanisms of brain-gut interaction in the treatment of insomnia. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between the hypothalamus and intestinal interaction in the treatment of insomnia by abdominal massage.
A single blind randomized controlled trial will be conducted. Sixty chronic insomnia volunteers and 30 healthy volunteers will be recruited for this study. Sixty insomnia volunteers will be randomly divided into a drug group and a massage group, and 30 healthy volunteers will be assigned to the healthy group. The manipulation of the treatment group will be mainly carried out through abdominal rubbing and vibration massage, once a day, 30 min/time, 5 days for a course of treatment, and a total of 4 intervention courses will be carried out. Patients in the drug group will be given orally spleen-invigorating bolus, twice a day, 1 pill in the morning and 1 pill in the evening. The course of treatment will be carried for 5 days, and a total of 4 courses of treatment will be administered.The massage group will be compared with the healthy group and the drug group by Pittsburgh Sleep Index scale (PSQI), Hyperarousal scale (HAS), Hamilton Depression scale (HAMD), Fatigue scale-14 (FS-14), and Wechsler Adult Memory scale (WAIS) scales using to observe the sleep quality. Rs-fMRI will be used to observe various BOLD signals in the brain and compare the values of Reho, fALFF, and FC. MRS technology will be used to observe the contents of GABA and 5-HT in the hypothalamus. Additionally, the contents of cortical hormone releasing hormone (CRH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), COR, GABA, NE, PGE2, and 5-HT in the serum will be also detected. The serum of each group will be taken for 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (1HNMR) metabolomics study to analyze the various common metabolites, differential metabolites, potential metabolic biomarkers, and metabolic pathways among the 3 groups. Finally, in combination with the brain functional imaging and brain spectrum, the potential mechanism of abdominal vibration and ring massage will be discussed.
The results of this study will be used to possibly elaborate the various mechanisms of brain and intestine interaction in the treatment of insomnia by employing abdomen ring rubbing.

Copyright © 2021 the Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.