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The Human Brain On Acupuncture

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Acupuncture does all sorts of wonders!

I know that not most of us are comfortable with the idea of acupuncture. I mean, who could imagine relaxing while they are laying down on an exam table with their arms and legs apart as fine needles are inserted onto your skin, right? That sounds a bit more like torture than pain relief to us. But as we have already discussed so many times before, acupuncture does a whole lot of wonder to the human body, and our health. Now, the question people always ask is “Does it work?” Quick answer would be “Yes, it does.” But of course, you still need to find out how.

Find out below.

Lying down on an exam table, spreading your arms and legs apart, and closing your eyes as fine needles are inserted into your skin sounds counterintuitive to pain relief. The ultra-thin stainless-steel acupuncture needles are strategically placed into your skin at acupuncture points to evoke “deqi” sensations that can lead to a relaxed and healthier you. The tiny sensations caused by the pricks on your skin actually activate the nervous system and the brain, but how does this all work?

The “qi” sensation that is widely discussed in acupuncture is produced when a needle is inserted. The aching, tingling sensation generates responses in different brain regions as acupoints are needled. In fact, specific acupuncture points have distinct deqi characteristics that have a consistent and unique ability to stimulate specific brain regions.

Stimulating acupuncture points leads to overlapping brain responses in a number of cortical and subcortical brain regions. This includes the insula, thalamus, anterior cingulate cortex and primary and secondary somatosensory cortices — all part of the sensorimotor cortical network, according to Medscape. At the same time, there is a deactivation in the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network, which includes the medial prefrontal cortex, caudate, amygdala, posterior cingulate cortex, and parahippocampus. These brain areas are associated with a pain matrix that is responsible for modulating both the sensation of pain and affective pain perception.

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