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New research published in Experimental Biology and Medicine (Royal Society of Medicine Press) concludes that acupuncture prevents the harmful production of chemicals created by stress. The researchers sought to measure the mechanisms by which acupuncture reduces chronic stress. When exposed to stress, a chemical is produced called neuropeptide Y (NPY). This is linked to stress induced physiological responses that are deleterious to health. In this study, acupuncture is shown to reduce production of this chemical thereby preventing the long-term harmful effects of chronic stress.

Electro-acupuncture was applied to acupuncture point St36 in laboratory rats exposed to stressful cold. The control group and the sham acupuncture group showed no change in NPY. However, the group receiving acupuncture showed a significant and long-term decrease in NPY production. As a result, the researchers conclude that electroacupuncture “is effective in preventing one of the sympathetic pathways stimulated during chronic stress, and thus may be a useful adjunct therapy in stress-related disorders.”

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Reference:
Acupuncture at ST36 prevents chronic stress-induced increases in neuropeptide Y in rat. Ladan Eshkevari1, Rupert Egan2, Dylan Phillips3, Jason Tilan1, Elissa Carney2, Nabil Azzam4, Hakima Amri5 and Susan E Mulroney2. Exp Biol Med
7 December 2011 EBM.2011.011224 .

Author Affiliations:
1 Department of Nursing, School of Nursing and Health Studies
2 Department of Pharmacology & Physiology
3 Department of Human Science, School of Nursing and Health Studies
4 Department of Neuroscience
5 Department of Biochemistry and Cell and Molecular Biology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC