I had a little fun with my blog recently talking about yoga breathing. (See blog 5/5/14) Nonetheless, studies about the various forms of Eastern medicine reveal the disciplines deserve respect. Experiments performed with mice are underway which suggest acupuncture may be useful as treatment for some serious illnesses such as sepsis and certain auto immune disorders.
Sepsis is a blood infection that kills 250,000 patients in the U. S. each year. (“Can Acupuncture Curb Killer Immune Reactions?” by Gary Stix, Scientific American Mind, May/June 2014 pg. 24.) The illness can be controlled with antibiotics but there is no drug available to counteract the body’s immune response and the concomitant complications. Work by Luis Ulloa from the Center for Immunity and Inflammation at Rutgers shows that by stimulating certain nerve endings in mice, complications that arise can be reduced for a variety of disorders including rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
Unlike DNA, no map exists for the electrical circuits in the human body, the neuroimmune circuits, but some of these may overlap acupuncture points. At least, that’s what Kevin Tracy thinks, a researcher at the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research on Long Island and a pioneer of bioelectronic medicine. (Ibid. pg 25.)
To be clear, no evidence exists to prove that acupuncture points are real just as there is only a vague understanding of how electrical stimulation works. Still, a growing number of researchers think Eastern medicine deserves attention and in so doing, they are “conferring a belated blessing on techniques that have been accepted treatments for thousands of years.” (Ibid. pg. 25.)
At this point, the words of comedian Tim Minchin come to mind: “You know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proved to work? – Medicine.”
(Courtesy of doctorwanguk. wordpress.com)