New Scientific Breakthrough Shows Efficacy of Why Acupuncture Works
Groundbreaking research shows that the act of inserting an acupuncture needle into the skin disrupts the C fibers, which refers to the branching point of nerves. They are responsible for transmitting low-grade sensory information over long distances through the use of Merkel cells as conduits. The research appears in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, according to the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine at California Institute of Integral Studies.
In the absence of scientific explanations for the way acupuncture really works, this breakthrough will actually provide a way to explain the process scientifically. While it has been known for quite some time that acupuncture points display lower electrical resistance than other skin areas, this research pinpoints that the C fibers branch right at the point of acupuncture. While unclear, scientists think C fibers play a role in the nervous system as a way to maintain arousal or wakefulness. When an acupuncture needle is inserted, it disrupts that circuit and numbs pain sensitivity.
In what is called “Battlefield Acupuncture,” acupuncture for pain relief is being made available to American Air Force physicians deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. This technique can relieve severe pain for many days. It is similar to traditional acupuncture, but inserts tiny semi-permanent needles at specific acu-points on the ear with the purpose of blocking pain signals from getting to the brain. Pain can be relieved in as little as five minutes.
Western medicine is taking its time to fully accept acupuncture even though it was introduced in this country in the 1970s. Researchers are hopeful these new breakthroughs will push acceptance higher and higher so more research can be done.
One classic example is from a New York Times columnist James Reston, who went through an emergency appendectomy in China in 1972. He later went on to write about acupuncture treatment for post-operative pain he felt was extremely successful.
Since then, just a few controlled studies have been done in the West, such as when Yale researchers proved the effectiveness of acupuncture for cocaine addiction in 2000. That study appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine. There have been several studies since then, of course, adding to a growing number of positive findings on the effects of acupuncture.
Contact Metro Detroit Acupuncture
Here at Metro Detroit Acupuncture, we offer a variety of acupuncture services, including those for pain management. We are the leading provider of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in Southeast Michigan. Call for an appointment today at 248-432-2846 or contact us online.