Saturday, October 15, 2011

Engage With Grace

Death. The big "D" word. We only die once, yet the subject is often taboo to discuss even when terminal illness or unexpected event occurs. Just as preventative healthcare is preferable to interventional disease care, having these kinds of discussions are important not just for the one who is dying, but for those who are left to grieve. Many acupuncturists provide palliative care both for the individual and their families and can play a role in facilitating these discussions. When you and your family know the answers to the following questions, the burden of decision-making and potential for conflict in the midst of grief and shock is greatly lessened. This movement is just as important for those in the bed as it is for those standing by it. Please pass it on!

Engage With Grace/The One Slide Project

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Acupuncture's Method of Action: Adenosine (?)

"A patient's report of pain is to be believed." This basic assessment is taught to all aspiring healthcare providers. Their report of pain relief, however, is often accepted only if there is a scientific explanation. Acupuncture is constantly being called quack medicine with all of it's "Qi" and "meridian" hocus-pocus, while patients who support it's efficacy cajoled for being so simple or desperate that they experience nothing more than a placebo effect.  Thanks to an ever-expanding body of research, we may start referring to "Qi" as both energy and chemical transmission.

Researchers from the Center for Translational Neuromedicine in Rochester now offer another plausible scientific explanation for the analgesic effect of acupuncture. A study on peripheral nervous system pain in animals found acupuncture increases formation of adenosine, a nucleoside that produces anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect.  Although deeper insertion and stimulation produced a greater effect, a moderate increase in adenosine may be observed with application of pressure, heat, or vibration to this skin.  This may also explain why non-invasive "sham" acupuncture treatments can elicit a therapeutic effect, but also why these benefits do not endure over the course of follow-up. Previous studies focused on the central nervous system determined acupuncture also stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain. Bring on the science!

For the full article, visit Nature Neuroscience