MRI and biochemistry show electroacupuncture stops pain
In their latest Acupuncture News, Healthcare Medicine Institute (Health CMI) reports, “MRI and Biochemistry Confirm Acupuncture Stops Pain.” In the article, they cite a number of studies that examine the use of new imaging techniques that elucidate acupoints and electroacupuncture, the stimulation of those points with weak electrical current.
Cited in the article is a study just published in Anesthesiology – The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, in which researchers conclude:
“Electroacupuncture blocks pain by activating a variety of bioactive chemicals through peripheral, spinal, and supraspinal mechanisms. These include opioids, which desensitize peripheral nociceptors and reduce proinflammatory cytokines peripherally and in the spinal cord, and serotonin and norepinephrine, which decrease spinal N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit GluN1 phosphorylation.”
What is electroacupuncture?
While acupuncture, the needling of acupoints, has been around for thousands of years, electroacupuncture is a relatively new phenomenon; some folks date the treatment as early as the 1800s, while others place it as late as 1958. Today, we can send a weak current through two acupuncture points using a device and two alligator clip wires. Alternatively, we can use a device that will stimulate a point without the use of needles.
The treatment is comfortable and typically lasts a few minutes up to 45 minutes, depending on what’s being treated with which device. (Most folks report feeling a tingling sensation at the local site that can sometimes radiate down the channel.) Not only is electroacupuncture helpful for treating pain, but also for treating anxiety and depression.
‘Proof’ of Acupuncture Points
The imaging findings cited in the article are quite exciting as science has been struggling to confirm empirically what acupuncturists and their patients have known for millennia: acupuncture points are real. Now by way of CT scan, researchers have found higher densities of micro-vessels at acupoint locations. In their study published December 2013 in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, they concluded, “there were large numbers of involutedly microvascular structure in the acupoint areas. Nevertheless, in non-acupoints area, the microvascular structure was relatively simple and flat.”
The adjacent image is from another imaging technology, an amperometric oxygen microsensor, that detects partial oxygen pressure variations at various locations. (I recommend reading Health CMI’s article in full to learn more.) Researchers found acupuncture points showed statistically-significant, relatively higher pO2 levels as compared to other regions.
Feel you might be a good candidate for electroacupuncture treatment? Contact Melissa for an appointment today.
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