What’s happening in your body during acupuncture? Thousands of years after acupuncture was invented, controversy remains over whether the Chinese traditional medicine technique works. While previous trials have shown mixed results, a new study shows that, at the very least, those needles really do cause something to happen in our bodies. Scientists have long been skeptical about the value of acupuncture , though practitioners have questioned whether the acupuncture in many studies was done “correctly.” Other trials suggest that acupuncture does “work,” but only as a placebo . In a study published this week in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine , researchers measured the biological effect of the procedure. They found that if you do acupuncture correctly, your body releases more nitric oxide at the points where the needles are inserted. The nitric oxide increases blood flow and triggers your body to release natural anesthetics, which can create either warming or cooling sensations. (The study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.) The scientists inserted acupuncture needles into 25 people, ages 18 to 60 and both men and women. Then they tried two different methods.
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