Here is the July installment in a series of blog posts highlighting recent scientific research in the field of acupuncture.
This series of blog posts aims to offer insights into a Western understanding of acupuncture. Links are always given to the research discussed so that you can look into the trials discussed in more detail.
This month, we talk about post-stroke rehabilitation, heart-disease, Alzheimer's disease and stress.
Explaining the effects of acupuncture post-Stroke
In China acupuncture has been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years to help the healing process after a stroke. A study this year in a laboratory may have found why. Scientists were studying the reaction of Angiopoietin, which is integral in remodeling the brain after a stroke, with acupuncture. The study examined how electro-acupuncture worked at two points believed to help up-regulate angiopoietin, points Ang-1 and Ang-2. The experiment produced results that suggest a strong causational relationship between the administered electro-acupuncture and an increase in Angiopoietin. This study brings science even closer to confirming the long held belief that acupuncture can help heal victims of strokes. Take a look at the research here.
Acupuncture’s heart helping effects examined further
It is widely believed that acupuncture is a healthy and effective way to treat heart disease and injury. Millions of Australians suffer from heart disease, and in fact heart disease is still our number one killer. Many may not want to turn to expensive procedures or medications, and even if they do, Western medical procedures can lead to complications in the heart afterwards.
A recent study set out to find physical evidence as to why acupuncture helps recovery from heart disease and injury. Their studies on animals were thorough and specific as they examined the genetic processes being activated due to acupuncture. They found that following electro-acupuncture, genes that affect protein production were up-regulated and this significantly helped in the animal’s recovery from heart injury. This research does not prove that acupuncture heals a damaged heart but it suggests that it stimulates the genes linked to reconstructing the damaged parts of the heart. This in conjunction with other research on humans with heart injury is leading science to take another look at acupuncture as a viable way of fixing broken hearts. Take a look at the research here.
Acupuncture Shown to Help Alzheimer’s Patients
A study done just this month tested the effects of acupuncture on Alzheimer’s patients by MRI scan. The scan showed enhanced hippocampal connectivity in the subjects. The Hippocampus is the area of the brain associated with processing memory and emotion. Acupuncture has already been shown in the past to help offset dementia and Alzheimer’s by stimulating the brain before these diseases fully develop but to see that it may even help patients after they’ve developed the disease is truly a breakthrough.
If a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s it affects the whole family so it’s certainly worth talking to an acupuncturist to help them live better, for themselves and the family. These tests are preliminary but promising and will certainly lead to further investigation into the possible benefits of acupuncture for those suffering from Alzheimer’s. Take a look at this promising research here.
Acupuncture reduces stress and supports heightened capacity for caring
A recent study was done on health care workers using auricular acupuncture to reduce stress levels. Health care work is a profession where empathy and caring for patients is integral and an absolute necessity. Subjects administered the treatment tested much lower on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory test for stress levels and higher in courage and patients on the Caring Ability Inventory.
This is great news for anyone working as a health care provider because this can be one of the most stressful jobs out there. To know that you can reduce your stress levels in such an environment in a safe, natural way while maintaining your passion for your work and the people around you is a blessing. Anyone in a high stress professional life should definitely see an acupuncturist to discover how it can help you live better and work better. Have a look at the report here.
We hope this short overview of recent acupuncture research gives you some inspiring food-for-thought. As always, please contact us if you would like any further information, and please share this page with anyone you think might enjoying reading it. Have a beautiful day.
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