U.S. News and World Report’s Health Day section had a fascinating article in the August issue entitled, “Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works”
The writers acknowledge that acupuncture has become increasingly popular in the U.S. and cites a study published in the September issue of NeuroImage that concludes that acupuncture eases pain by regulating key receptors in the brain.
Acupuncture increases the binding availability of mu-opioid receptors in regions of the brain that process and weaken pain signals. “The increased binding availability of these receptors was associated with reductions in pain,” said Richard Harris, a researcher at the University of Michigan.
By directly stimulating these chemicals, acupuncture can affect the brain’s long-term ability to regulate pain, the study found. The researchers used PET scans to examine 20 women with “undefined” fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. The women took no new medications for their pain during the study period.
For more information on this study click here