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Chiropractic Research Review

Increased Pain Threshold following Acupuncture?

When treating pain with acupuncture, the usual procedure is to select acupuncture points distant from the affected area, but belonging to the acupuncture meridian that crosses that area. In this study, eight volunteers were subjected to electrostimulation with acupuncture along the large-intestine meridian, to quantify the pain threshold before and after electroacupuncture (at stimulation sites lying along some meridians and at sites distant from the meridians).

Before electrostimulation, no significant differences were noted among the pain thresholds in acupuncture points or in distant non-acupuncture points. Electrostimulation increased the pain threshold significantly at all tested sites. The analgesic effect was predominant in those points lying along the acupuncture meridians.

Conclusion: The specific analgesia occurring in the points of the stimulated meridian may serve as indication of the potential effectiveness of acupuncture in treating pain. When an acupuncture point is electrically stimulated, significant analgesia occurs in the points of the stimulated meridian, and these points demonstrate significantly higher pain thresholds than those in the surrounding area. Further investigation may reveal a more detailed relationship between acupuncture and the nervous system.

Farber PL. Increased pain threshold following electroacupuncture: Analgesia is induced mainly in meridian acupuncture points. Acupuncture and Electrotherapeutics Research, 1997;(22), pp109-117.

Chiropractic Research Review

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