June 1, 2010
By Katie Leavitt
There are many people who remain skeptical of therapies that lie outside the realm of scientifically sound western medicine. A study published Sunday in the journal Nature Neuroscience provides scientific backing that may just turn those skeptics into believers.
Researchers at the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that the molecule adenosine was released in the areas surrounding acupuncture needle insertion in mice. Adenosine is one of the body’s natural painkillers, also helps to regulate sleep and has anti-inflammatory properties. When activated after an injury, the chemical blocks nerve signals to reduce pain, but the scientists found that adenosine also caused a reaction in deeper tissues treated by acupuncture.