Scientists find that the twist of the needle damages cells and triggers release of anti-inflammatory chemicals…
For years, I’ve heard people wondering about acupuncture ask, “how can sticking sharp needles into your skin actually help relieve pain? Seems like it would make it hurt more!”
That actually is an interesting question, but nobody seems to know for sure how this mysterious, but effective, process works. What we DO know is that it DOES work, so we kind of take it on faith and enjoy the benefits.
Now we are hearing that scientists have figured it out….read the article below and see what you think! If you like this, please share with others!
Ever since Chinese doctors first poked their patients with sharp objects 4,000 years ago, and charged them for the pleasure, acupuncture has been shrouded in mystery.
Tradition has it that the procedure works by improving the flow of “qi” along invisible energy channels called meridians, but research published today points to a less mystical explanation for the painkilling claims of acupuncture.
The answer, according to a team of scientists in New York, follows an extraordinary study in which researchers gave regular acupuncture sessions to mice with sore paws.
After each half-hour session the mice felt less discomfort in their paws because the needles triggered the release of a natural painkiller, the researchers say. The needles caused tissue damage that stimulated cells to produce adenosine, an anti-inflammatory chemical, that was effective for up to an hour after the therapy was over.
Modern acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into the skin at specific points around the body. The needles are pushed in a few centimetres, and then heated, twisted or even electrified to produce their claimed medical effects.
Acupuncture has spread around the world since originating in China but conventional western medicine has remained steadfastly sceptical. Although there is now good evidence that acupuncture can relieve pain, many of the other health benefits acupuncturists claim are on shakier ground.
The latest research gives doctors a sound explanation of how sticking needles into the skin can alleviate, rather than exacerbate, pain. The discovery will challenge the view , widely held among scientists, that any benefits a patient feels after acupuncture are due purely to the placebo effect.
“The view that acupuncture has little benefit beyond the placebo effect has really hampered research into the technique,” said Maiken Nedergaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Rochester medical centre in New York state, who led the study.