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How Does Acupuncture Work?

April 16, 2013

Even as medical acupuncture is increasingly being validated as an effective treatment for a broad range of medical conditions, what has been missing is an understanding of the basic science and mechanisms of action of this age-old method of healing. A special issue of Medical Acupuncture, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers presents a series of articles by authors from around the world who provide diverse and insightful perspectives on the science and physiologic responses underlying medical acupuncture. The issue is available on the Medical Acupuncture website.

“Understanding acupuncture in the same manner that we understand the mechanism of action and pharmacokinetics of a particular drug will, similarly, enable us to match treatments better with conditions,” states Guest Editor Richard F. Hobbs, III, MD. “The net effect will be improved outcomes,” he writes in his editorial “Basic Science Matters.”

In the editorial “Basic Science: Mysteries and Mechanisms of Acupuncture,” Richard Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Medical Acupuncture, a retired Air Force Colonel and current Director of the USAF Acupuncture Center, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, suggests that natural events have scientific explanations and that “the two explanations–one scientific, the other environmental–might both elucidate how acupuncture works.”

The issue includes a Review article by John Longhurst, MD, PhD, University of California, Irvine, entitled “Acupuncture´s Cardiovascular Actions: A Mechanistic Perspective.” The article describes how acupuncture´s effects on cardiovascular function can decrease elevated blood pressure, improve blood flow, and relieve pain.

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Source: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.



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