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Study suggests value of acupuncture
A study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia, the official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS), suggest there is scientific validity of traditional Chinese medicine for treatment of pain.1
Researchers used quantitative sensory testing to identify changes in pain sensitivity with acupuncture in 24 healthy volunteers. After applying acupuncture to the leg, the researchers found that pain thresholds increased by up to 50%. Effects were noted in both the treated leg and the untreated leg.
The results pointed to two nerve fibersthe A delta pain fibers and the C pain fibersas being specifically affected by acupuncture. Although the effects were modest, the researchers believe they provide the basis for future studies in individuals with chronic pain, where the effects might be more dramatic.
The results provide a scientific background for the ancient practice of acupuncture, according to Dominik Irnich, MD, PhD, director of the Multidisciplinary Pain Centre, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Munich, and the study's lead author. He pointed out in a press release: "Our results show that contralateral stimulation leads to a remarkable pain relief. This suggests that acupuncturists should needle contralaterally if the affected side is too painful or not accessible for example, if the skin is injured or there is a dressing in place."
1. Irnich D, Lang PM, Stoer J, et al. Bilateral acupuncture analgesia observed by quantitative sensory testing in healthy volunteers. Anesth Analg 2010 May: 110: 1448-1456.