Acupuncture kills pain faster and more efficiently than most prescription pain medications, yet the science behind acupuncture’s pain killing qualities has been up for debate for thousands of years; until now.
A recent study published May 30, 2010 through the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York found that acupuncture stimulates the release of the naturally occurring chemical Adenosine.
Adenosine is a chemical associated with heart health and regulating the body’s sleep cycle, however when an injury occurs Adenosine is released to help increase blood flow and dull the sensation of pain. This finding will help doctors better prescribe medication for injuries, as several prescription drugs exist which boost Adenosine to acheive natural sleep.
“It’s an interesting contribution to our growing understanding of the complex intervention which is acupuncture” said Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., director of The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at Rochester University.
The NCCAOM’s (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’s) definition for acupuncture is “Stimulation of specific points of the body by insertion of very fine, sterile, stainless steel needles to elicit a predictable physiological response.”
Mina Larson, Director of Communications and Marketing for NCCAOM described the needles as having the width and length of cat whiskers. Blood, pain and bruising do not occur when applied correctly.
Acupuncture can be used to treat infertility, boost metabolism, fight addiction and has recently been used to help those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. David W. Miller MD, L.Ac at East-West Integrated Medicine in Chicago IL said this is done by disrupting the chain of stress which causes PTSD.
“During PTSD your brain has recorded an event with excessive detail and excessive emotion. This sets off a circuit of stress which can be helpful in the battle field but less so when soldiers return home,” said Dr. Miller, “if you can interrupt the circuit of stress you can break the cycle of PTSD.”
Acupuncture’s pain killing mystery may have been solved, but it appears the list of treatments, applications and effectiveness for this alternative medicine may continue to grow for quite some time.