talks with acupunture patient Bill Stroud who says
he can feel a tingle when the needle hits a nerve.
the most widely accepted alternative therapy is the
4000-year-old Chinese practice of acupuncture -- although
the scientific jury is still out on its efficacy. Acupuncture
maps out points on the body through which the Qi (pronounced
"Chee"), or life force, can be manipulated. Particular
points are stimulated with needles to affect change
in the Qi of specific body parts - the heart, the liver,
the brain - and to assist with specific ailments, such
as insomnia or high blood pressure.
animal studies, John
Longhurst, Chief of Cardiology at the University
of California, Irvine Medical Center, found a link between
acupuncture and the release of natural opiates in the
brain, which reduced the animals' reaction to stress,
suppressing blood pressure. Now he's trying to find
out if the same is true for humans, but results so far
are hard to interpret.
John Longhurst found that test subjects who received
acupuncture showed significantly lower peak blood
pedal on an exercise bike until they're exhausted, when
their blood pressure reaches its peak. Subjects who
received acupuncture before exercising showed significantly
lower peak blood pressure than those who did not. But
surprisingly, some of the acupuncture points that were
effective in the trials weren't supposed to act on the
cardiovascular system. Longhurst believes that acupuncture,
and most alternative therapies, work by essentially
turning on the body's own opiate system - a result otherwise
known as the "placebo effect."
more on this topic, see the web feature: