Acupuncture helps with pain

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Acupuncture helps against chronic pain: A conventional medical study has looked into the question of why acupuncture is so effective.

(01.06.2010) Naturopathy has been proving it for several decades, for example acupuncture treatment is very effective for chronic pain. So far, conventional medical scientists have not been able to explain how the attached needles actually affect the human organism. Scientists at Rochester University in New York have now deciphered a partial aspect of the effects of acupuncture treatment. The body's own molecule "adenosine" apparently plays an important role in the treatment of pain.

If acupuncture is performed correctly, adenosine can block the release of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are biochemical substances that pass on information from one nerve cell to another via contact points of the nerve cells. By blocking adenosine, patients can sleep better again, the heartbeat can be regulated and blood pressure can be reduced. Adenosine can also be anti-inflammatory. Chronic pain can also be cut or reduced by interrupting nerve cells in the injured skin.

In order to gain this knowledge, researchers from the University of Rochester carried out a large-scale acupuncture study that appeared in the magazine "Nature Neuroscience". This is how they insert needles into injured mouse paws, as naturopaths also do during an acupuncture session in humans. It has been found that adenosine becomes active in the deeper layers of the skin if the needles are placed correctly to treat foot pain.

The result: The treatment reduced pain by around two thirds. During and after treatment, the concentration of adenosine was 24 times higher than before. When the researchers artificially increased adenosine, i.e. without acupuncture needles, a reduction in pain was also found. In the course of the study, the scientists continued to try to increase the effects of acupuncture by additionally administering adenosine. A cancer drug was used for this, the effect of which makes it difficult for the tissue to break down adenosine. Due to the artificial administration of the drug, the adenosine concentration increased threefold and the effect of acupuncture could be tripled.

The principles of acupuncture go back to the basics of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which is around 2000 years old. This includes the idea of ​​a life force called "Qi". The life force should move in a constant flow in the human body. According to these principles, complaints can arise if there are physical or mental imbalances. However, conventional medicine considers all modes of action decoupled and therefore only concentrates on individual aspects of the body's own reactions. Successful treatment could be jeopardized by the disconnected approach. (sb)

Also read:
Acupuncture effective for pregnancy depression
New study: acupuncture effective in the brain?

Photo credits: Photo: © Sabine Weiße / PIXELIO.

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