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acupuncture & adenosine

A couple of days ago the morning paper carried a story about acupuncture. More specifically, a story saying that researchers had shown how acupuncture works to reduce pain. The study was done in mice (& so presumably used very small needles) & found that 'needling' was followed by release of adenosine, a substance which has been known for some time to reduce sensations of pain.

It sounded interesting & I filed it away mentally for further examination. Unfortunately time is passing & I haven't a huge amount of it to spare. Fortunately Orac has done his usual thorough job of reviewing the original research paper (& identifying some of the more overheated reactions to the publication). So go over there to read his review & join in the discussion :-)

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4 Comments

It's interesting how the definition of 'acupuncture' has been broadened from originally meaning "sticking needles into people at specified places along the meridians of Qi, learned through millennia of painstaking trial and error", so for purposes of validation (as in this study) it simply means "sticking needles in people".

Does this mean that acupuncture is a low-wage job that could be performed at minimal cost by anyone who can sterilise a needle? Or do you think that when it comes to billing for services, the concept of 'acupuncture' will shrink back to the narrow definition with its implications of training and skill and esoteric Eastern wisdom?

I would go with your second suggestion - the narrow definition would definitely pay better!

The researchers had shown how acupuncture works to reduce pain. The study was done in mice and so presumably used very small needles, and found that 'needling' was followed by release of adenosine, a substance which has been known for some time to reduce sensations of pain.

But no qi or meridians, right? Which would seem to undermine one of the cornerstones of this particular 'therapy'.

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  • Alison Campbell: But no qi or meridians, right? Which would seem to read more
  • acupressure: The researchers had shown how acupuncture works to reduce pain. read more
  • Alison Campbell: I would go with your second suggestion - the narrow read more
  • herr doktor bimler: It's interesting how the definition of 'acupuncture' has been broadened read more