Acupuncture Changes Your Perception of Pain

Researchers have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to take pictures of the brain while patients experienced a pain stimulus with and without acupuncture. The results suggest that acupuncture is effective at changing your brain’s perception and processing of pain.

fMRI revealed that without acupuncture, there was significant activation in pain processing areas of the brain such as the contralateral supplementary motor area, somatosensory cortex, precuneus bilateral insula and ipsilateral somatomotor cortex. During acupuncture treatment, however, activation in most of these pain-processing areas of the brain was significantly reduced.

Science Daily reports:

“... [I]n addition to the assumed specific effects on the pain signal, acupuncture also affected brain activation in areas governing the patients' expectations of pain, similar to a placebo analgesic response.”

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