Needle Acupuncture

Needle acupuncture involves stimulating specific points along the body thought to be related to various bodily functions by penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles. These needles can be further stimulated manually or electrically. There are many different types of needle acupuncture used throughout the world, including Japanese Meridian Therapy and French Energetic acupuncture. Acupuncture originated in China more than 2000 years ago and is one of the oldest, most commonly used systems of traditional healing in the world. Acupuncture is widely available in the United States and is typically practiced in a private practice setting by a variety of practitioners including acupuncturists, TCM practitioners, and some trained physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists where permitted.

Neurophysiological pain-suppressing effects of acupuncture and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.

The role of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) in the development of acupuncture analgesia.

When acupuncture needles are inserted into muscles for the purpose of bringing about the development of AA, the consequent needle-induced stimulation of A-delta skin and Groups II & III muscle sensory afferents has several effects, including the creation of activity in the serotonin-mediated descending pain inhibitory system situated in the dorsolateral funiculus (see Ch. 6). And, therefore, in view of this, it is hardly surprising that the development of AA is now known to be influenced by alterations in the central nervous system’s serotonin levels.

Finally, in view of all that has been discussed, it is hardly surprising to find (Han et al 1980, Zhou et al 1982) that the simultaneous interference with both serotonin and EOP levels results in a dramatic decrease or even complete abolition of any analgesia induced by EA.