Acupuncture and the Brain
Recent studies have determined that acupuncture can have a direct effect on brain functioning. Let’s take migraines as an example…
Parts of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain often have decreased ‘functional connectivity’ in migraine sufferers. MRI results have shown acupuncture to restore ‘functional connectivity’ in these parts of the brain, with the desired effect of reducing pain, or decreasing the intensity, duration and frequency of migraine attacks.
A more general study has shown that needling to the depth of ‘qi’ (the vital energy that can be accessed at different acupuncture points) on the pain relief point He Gu or Large Intestine 4, also results in the deactivation of parts of the limbic system of the brain - which is involved in registering pain!
This ongoing research is very exciting and continues to shed light on the possible mechanisms involved in acupuncture treatment.