Comment by Dean McQue Acupuncture in Richmond at Acupuncture and Holistic Health – this exciting research helps understand some of the physiological effects of acupuncture using a western paradigm. In our Richmond clinic, both Chinese and Japanese acupuncture is practised.
As reported in the Telegraph – Scientists who scanned the brains of volunteers as they were given Acupuncture found it deactivated pathways that govern pain.
Complementary medicine expert Dr Hugh MacPherson, of the University of York, said: “These results provide objective scientific evidence that acupuncture has specific effects within the brain which hopefully will lead to a better understanding of how acupuncture works.” The findings, published in “Brain Research”, suggest that acupuncture has a significant effect on specific nerve structures.
Dr MacPherson said: “We carried out two tests of acupuncture on our participants, one where the needles are inserted at a shallow depth which is the practise in Japan and the other where they went in much deeper which is the Chinese tradition. We found 10 out of the 17 experienced ‘deqi’ while the others didn’t, and this appeared to help in deactivating areas in the brain that are associated with pain.
“The Chinese have been using acupuncture for 2,000 years for wide ranging illnesses but we have only touched the surface at the moment. We believe it can help relieve a number of conditions, including depression which we have recruited 640 people for another study where half will receive acupuncture and the others counselling.”
Coresearcher Dr Aziz Asghar, a neuroscientist at Hull York Medical School, added: “The results are fascinating. Whether such brain deactivations constitute a mechanism which underlies or contributes to the therapeutic effect of acupuncture is an intriguing possibility which requires further research.”
The team is currently researching if acupuncture has the ability to successfully treat irritable bowel syndrome and depression The results will be made available on this website when completed.
Dr MacPherson and colleagues say their research could help to clear the way for acupuncture to be more broadly accepted as a treatment option on the NHS for a number of medical conditions.