Acupuncture has become one way that people can seek relief from pain, and is becoming a more and more common practice today. It is currently being used by pain clinic doctors nationwide. Acupuncture involves inserting needles into the body which releases adenosine, a natural molecule in the body that in turn relieves discomfort in the limbs and joints. After decades of struggling to gain widespread acceptance in the West, the constant stream of patients advising their pain was much reduced through the use of acupuncture called for more scientific research to be performed. Now much research has been made into this practice which has proven it to be an effective way of treating pain.
Laboratory Tests Show Adenosine Gains
Is there an actual physiological effect brought on by acupuncture? Scientists first went to the lab to test this theory. Experiments on mice were one of the first ways the practice of acupuncture was able to be demonstrated as reliable. By performing standard acupuncture treatment on mice it was shown that adenosine doubled and in some cases even tripled in areas surrounding the needle. The study showed that discomfort in the mice was reduced by two thirds, measured by their responses to various stimuli.
Research on Humans Shows Pain Relief Power of Acupuncture
The real question lies in how effective can this practice be on humans, and is it a reliable treatment to receive at your pain clinic or from your local doctor. Controlled clinical trials have shown acupuncture works for treatment of many different diseases and symptoms, such as depression, headache, knee pain, low back pain – the list goes on and on. Researchers were able to prove through the use of actual treatment vs. placebo that the analgesic effects of acupuncture far outweighed that of a placebo. In addition, the amount of pain relief received from acupuncture therapy was on par with the effects of the common pain medication morphine. This in itself proved to be an impressive find.
Testing the Placebo Effect
Some experiments involved patients suffering with light to moderate pain. Other studies were on people truly suffering from a severe diagnosis. These studies pitted acupuncture up against drug treatments and placebos(with the placebo being anywhere from various pinpricks, to mixed pricks along with true acupuncture needles, to true needles applied in areas not used for actual treatment). When these studies were narrowed down to the patients with the most intense pain the difference between the results of true acupuncture treatment and placebos was pronounced. The results were very clear – acupuncture works.
Acupuncture Becoming Mainstream
Not only do doctors see the significance of this treatment, but the general public can feel the results of a treatment that does not require medication. Acupuncture can and should be used for pain treatment, as it provides relief and also makes the episodes less frequent and less intense when they occur. Through more study, researchers will continue to develop knowledge on how much relief it can truly provide, and in which circumstances.