Acupuncture Treats Chronic Stress
Acupuncture can do more than relieve stiff or painful muscles, according to a study at Georgetown University Medical Center. Researchers there found that it may also be effective in reducing stress, and potentially depression.
The scientists divided laboratory rats into four groups, with the first three groups being exposed to cold-induced painful stress. Group 1 received acupuncture by a device that ensures equal distribution of electro-stimulation to a powerful acupuncture point in the stomach. This acupuncture point has been found to blunt activity in the neural pathway associated with chronic pain, the immune system, mood, and emotions. Group 2 received a sham acupuncture (not at an acupuncture point). Group 3 did not receive any acupuncture and acted as the placebo group. The final group, group 4 did not receive acupuncture or stress.
The results suggest that acupuncture appeared to prevent the stress-induced release of hormones in the rats and also seemed to reduce anxiety-like behavior.
Additional research needs to done to determine if the treatment can be as effective in treating stress and depression in humans.