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Brain scans show that acupuncture physically reduces pain

Acupuncture has long since faced scrutiny from skeptics who claim its benefits are nothing more than a placebo effect. However, a recent German study has found that inserting needles into the body actually has a visible calming effect on the brain cells used to process and perceive pain.

The research team from the University Hospital in Essen, conducted a study to see if they could find whether or not giving acupuncture affected how the brain reacted to electric shocks.

The study involved eighteen volunteers, all of whom underwent brain scans at the same time as an electric shock was applied to their left ankle. Acupuncture needles were then placed at three places on the right side, between the toes, below the knees and near to the thumb before the current was switched on again.

The set of brain scans which were taken after the insertion of the acupuncture needles showed that the brains pain regions were significantly less active than the scans which were taken before the acupuncture.

Dr Nina Theysohn, a researcher on the study said, ‘Activation of brain areas involved in pain perception was significantly reduced or modulated under acupuncture.’

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Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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