Is acupuncture effective?
Acupuncture may help relieve pain immediately for some people, but its success depends on several factors. In this video, HealthMaker and researcher Josephine P. Briggs, MD, discusses how a patient’s expectations can affect pain relief.
JOSEPHINE BRIGGS: We've supported a fair amount of work on acupuncture, and acupuncture's to me very interesting. And it is a paradigm of the way in which context, emotion,
the setting your expectations can modify pain. [MUSIC PLAYING]
It's pretty clear that a reassuring acupuncture practitioner who leads a patient through an acupuncture
experience will for many people reduce-- have an immediate impact on pain. It's probably not exactly the way
the ancient Chinese thought of it with meridians and toothpicks placed beside the meridians may
work as well as long as the whole expectation and ritual is completed.
One of the ways people think of acupuncture is working is a counter-irritant stimulus that kind of
confuses the nervous system and diminishes the vigilance about pain.
I think all of us know that you go to a dentist chair and you're alert and vigilant, and if your expectation
changes, your pain threshold may go down. And that may be part of the kind of mechanism that's activated by acupuncture.
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