Even as medical acupuncture is increasingly being validated as an effective treatment for a broad range of medical conditions, what has been missing is an understanding of the basic science and mechanisms of action of this age-old method of healing. A special issue of Medical Acupuncture, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers presents a series of articles by authors from around the world who provide diverse and insightful perspectives on the science and physiologic responses underlying medical acupuncture. The issue is available on the Medical Acupuncture website.
“Understanding acupuncture in the same manner that we understand the mechanism of action and pharmacokinetics of a particular drug will, similarly, enable us to match treatments better with conditions,” states Guest Editor Richard F. Hobbs, III, MD. “The net effect will be improved outcomes,” he writes in his editorial “Basic Science Matters.”
In the editorial “Basic Science: Mysteries and Mechanisms of Acupuncture,” Richard Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Medical Acupuncture, a retired Air Force Colonel and current Director of the USAF Acupuncture Center, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, suggests that natural events have scientific explanations and that “the two explanations - one scientific, the other environmental - might both elucidate how acupuncture works.”
The issue includes a Review article by John Longhurst, MD, PhD, University of California, Irvine, entitled “Acupuncture’s Cardiovascular Actions: A Mechanistic Perspective.” The article describes how acupuncture’s effects on cardiovascular function can decrease elevated blood pressure, improve blood flow, and relieve pain.
Steven Harte, PhD and colleagues from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA) report the results of a study aimed at understanding the differences in patient responses to traditional vs. sham acupuncture. They used pressure-pain testing to identify patients who may be less likely to respond to sham acupuncture based on levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. The study is described in the article “Pressure Pain Sensitivity and Insular Combined Glutamate and Glutamine (Glx) Are Associated with Subsequent Clinical Response to Sham But Not Traditional Acupuncture in Patients Who Have Chronic Pain.”
Keith Spaulding, ND, MAc and coauthors assessed the electrophysiological differences between actual and nearby (or sham) acupuncture points in the article “Acupuncture Needle Stimulation Induces Changes in Bioelectric Potential.”
About the Journal
Medical Acupuncture, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published bimonthly in print and online that presents evidence-based clinical articles, case reports, and research findings that integrate concepts from traditional and modern forms of acupuncture with Western medical training. Tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Medical Acupuncture website.
About the Publisher
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Journal of Women’s Health, and Journal of Palliative Medicine. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 70 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.
The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the United States Air Force Medical Corps, the Air Force at large, or the Department of Defense.