Medical Treatment: Acupuncture Gets a Scientific Boost

Results of a new scientific study on acupuncture may offer an option for some of our clients to reduce pain from their injuries, and not have to rely solely on painkiller medications.

A University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center research team announced in May that it had found a specific molecule that plays a part in creating the pain-reducing effects of acupuncture in the body. With that information, scientists were able to triple the pain-relieving effects of acupuncture in mice.

Acupuncture has been a mainstay of medical treatment in certain parts of the world for 4,000 years, but because it hasn’t been understood completely, many people have remained skeptical – particularly in the medical and scientific community. Now, there’s a growing body of evidence showing that in the central nervous system, acupuncture creates signals that cause the brain to churn out natural pain-killing endorphins.

The medical center said researchers focused on adenosine, a natural compound that plays a role in regulating sleep and for regulating anti-inflammatory responses of the body. Adenosine also acts as a natural painkiller, becoming active in the skin after an injury to inhibit nerve signals. It’s similar to the way lidocaine works.

Scientists also explored the effects of a cancer drug called deoxycoformycin, which makes it harder for the tissue to remove adenosine. The compound boosted the effects of acupuncture treatment dramatically, nearly tripling the length of time the treatment was effective.

Some people may be reluctant to use acupuncture, which is their choice, of course. But in talking with some of our doctors about this, I think – and a number of our doctors agree – that this development can only offer more choices for clients to consider in the future. It’s certainly something to ask about when you see a treatment provider.A scientific study outlines advances showing acupuncture’s ability to relieve pain.

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Dianne L. Sawaya

Licensed since 1981

Member at firm The Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya, LLC

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