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Pains and needles: brain scans point to hidden effects of acupuncture

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Placebo acupuncture can ease short-term pain but the real thing might help to reverse the underlying pathology of a disease

Neuroscientists have been studying how acupuncture affects the brain. It’s clear from many imaging studies that causing pain by inserting needles into the skin does influence brain activity, presumably by activating nerves close to the acupuncture point. Intriguingly, being pricked with needles seems to reduce activity in areas of the brain normally associated with pain, dubbed “the pain matrix”, says Hugh MacPherson, an acupuncture researcher at the University of York. “Rather than activating the pain matrix, it actually de-activates it.”

Source: Pains and needles: brain scans point to hidden effects of acupuncture

Ancient Simplicity

For over 4,000 years Traditional Chinese Medicine has incorporated the use of acupuncture for health. Everyone in our family has used it and agrees “there is something to it” even if we don’t know what. In fact, after a session our usual conversation includes “how long did you sleep?” Sleep? With half a dozen needs in you? Absolutely. Just lying there while music plays softly in the background and letting the everything take its course.

There is no need to worry about forms to fill out. Our acupuncturist charges $70 per visit which we pay out-of-pocket. There are no Pharmaceutical Benefit Managers or other middlemen to mark up the cost. He buys needles from an authorized supplier and pays rent for his clinic. Simple. We know the price when we enter the building and it is the same price we pay when we leave.

What’s really humorous is how Americans think of needles. These are not hypodermic needles like those used to deliver medication via a syringe but are hair-thin needles. They have no opening. You can put 50 acupuncture needles in the lumen (or opening) of a hypodermic needle. They serve completely different purposes and have completely differently forms; both have a purpose in holistic healthcare. Maybe there is a Yin Yang relationship here! 😎

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