Acupuncture has been a longstanding practice of natural medicine; in fact, it’s been about 3000 years since the dawn of acupuncture. While countries like China have long integrated this ancient practice into their normal health care system as a trusted treatment for many ailments, countries like the United States have had sparse scientific research studies conducted, which has led to skepticism of the efficacy of its ability to treat patients. Recently, there has been ground breaking research done by Dr. Morry Silberstein of the Curtin University of Technology, translating how acupuncture works in the eyes of Western medicine.
What Dr. Silberstein discovered was the physical structure of the meridian points. Meridian points are energy channels that connect the surface of the body to the internal organs and other internal structures; when these meridian points are stimulated, it supports healing to those associated areas. Dr. Silberstein used stereomicroscopic images to find that the meridian channels were "extremely thin nerves called C fibres and acupuncture points are the points where the C fibres branch. These C fibres transmit low-grade sensory information. Insertion of acupuncture needles into these ranches disrupts this circuit and numbs our sensitivity to pain." [Metzger]
Acupuncture points have long been known to show lower electrical resistance than other neighboring areas of the skin, but his research goes further saying that the C fibres actually branch directly on the acupuncture point. He theorizes that those bundles of fibers exist to "maintain arousal or wakefulness" and that "the insertion of the acupuncture needle disrupts this circuit and numbs our sensitivity to pain." [Vlasto] This reflects why acupuncture has been so effective at relieving pain for 3000 years.
The western world has long been deprived of any scientific explanation about how acupuncture works due to the lack of research on the subject. The absence of any scientific understanding has stunted acupuncture’s ability to properly be established as an effective mode of healing the body. As our nation continues to do more research and prove acupuncture works on a scientific level, we will see more scientists and doctors begin to develop ways to integrate Western and Eastern medicine to develop a more holistic and encompassing mode of treating patients.
- Metzger, Lisa. "New Groundbreaking Research from Curtin University Proves the Anatomic." PRWeb, Garden Acupuncture, December 20, 2011.
- Vlasto, T. "New Scientific Breakthrough Proves Why Acupuncture Works." ACTCM, August 16, 2017.