Pain relief mechanisms in acupuncture

Every person is accompanied by pain. These can include recurrent migraines, menstrual pain, back pain, or disease related pain. We deal with them in many ways – from taking painkillers to biting our teeth and trying to wait. However, not everyone knows that acupuncture has been an effective method of eliminating all types of pain for centuries.

One theory about pain relief is that the two external stimuli that cause the pain will ease. Sticking the needles on acupuncture points with groups of receptors and the intersection of different types of fibers – depending on their thickness, the impulses run faster or slower through them – trigger an analgesic reaction.

How do we feel pain?

However, speaking more figuratively. Thick fibers, with which the impulses travel faster, send sensory, tactile and thermal stimuli. Thin fibers are responsible for transmitting pain impulses. So when, for example, we pinch someone or hit and at the same time prick the appropriate acupuncture point, we cause a micro race between the pain impulses (pinching) and the sensory impulses caused by the puncture. The latter, transported by thicker fibers, reach the spinal cord faster. Taking priority, they block the respective core segments. A pain impulse that arrives later is thus ignored.

Acupuncture evolved into an independent medical specialty during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and a separate medical department was established to teach this method. Previously, acupuncture was family knowledge, passed down in clans. In 1027, bronze figures were cast, on which acupuncture points and meridians were marked. Nowadays, you can buy similar miniature models made of plastic. Doctor Wang Wei Yin also wrote acupuncture textbooks that have served medical students for centuries.

Acupuncture also initiates the production of serotonin, norepinephrine and acetylquinine, but currently there are no accurate studies confirming their effect on reducing pain.

Acupuncture in anesthesiology

The puncture works so well and is so powerful that it is used by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners in anesthesia and anesthesia without pharmacological support.

Based on: Z. Garnuszewski, The Renaissance of Acupuncture; H. Operacz, Acupuncture treatment.

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