fMRI Study Shows Brain Changes from Acupuncture

By Chad Dupuis
Tagged in Acupuncture and Research

Many studies have been done in recent years to better understand the biochemical and neurological changes that are stimulated via acupuncture.  Over the long term studies of this nature help us to better understand the mechanisms that acupuncture works and may even help to devise better treatments.  In this study a team of researchers published in the Molecular Pain journal looked at fMRI results from needling a common acupuncture point - ST 36.

This study was prompted by observances of the effects of acupuncture lasting long after the needle was terminated - which we observe clinically in long lasting results from treatments for various conditions.  The study found the following:

  • Needling phase - amygdala and perigenual anterior cingulate cortex (pACC) increased activity.
  • Entire session - activation within the hypothalamus and periaqueductal gray (PAG)
  • Random activity in the anterior insula and prefrontal cortexes.

Overall this study shows a very broad range of effects from a single acupuncture point.  Certainly ST 36 has a number of clinical usages and would be expected, perhaps more than others, to show a wider array of changes.



fMRI Study Shows Brain Changes from Acupuncture

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Authored by: Chad Dupuis on 9 November 2010

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