EA = electroacupuncture
SAR = Society of Acupuncture Research
SIO = Society of Integrative Oncology
FRS = Fascia Research Society
Reference: Liddle, C.E., and Harris R.E. (2018). Cellular Reorganization Plays a Vital role in Acupuncture Analgesia. Medical Acupuncture, 30(1), 15-20. doi: 10.1089/acu.2017.1258
Type of research: literature review
subcategory of acupuncture research: mechanisms of action
As acupuncturists, we are all well aware of its effects on analgesia. The benefits of acupuncture utilizing endogenous opioids activated via descending pain pathway have been well documented. The article, though, is focused on something entirely different. It outlines the benefits of needle technique in manual manipulation versus electro-acupuncture (EA). In "Cellular Reorganization Play a Vital Role in Acupuncture Analgesia", Liddle and Harris review recent development of fascia, mechanotransduction, extracellular matrix rearrangements, and inflammation response in the body in relationship to acupuncture. They suggest long term benefits of acupuncture analgesia may be attributed to cellular reorganization by lowering the "mechanical stress state of the tissue's mechanical receptors".
The paper largely cites Langevin and her research in fascia. If you have been living under a rock and not heard of Helene Langevin (or, like me, already have a fan girl brain crush on her) read the article now. As one would expect from Harris, the article demonstrates profundity in fascia and interweaves the great mass of research spanning over 40 years into a single paper (pun intended). Interestingly, the paper differentiates needle technique. It radically details the importance of achieving de qi in treatment. This is a fairly simple concept to an acupuncturist. The paper's strength lies in what is not spoken. I believe it can be used to demonstrate the importance of seeking an acupuncturist versus a provider who dry needles and would not know "setting fire on the mountain" to an "eye of the tiger". The paper clearly uses TCM terminology. I also believe this paper can be used to strengthen distal acupuncture styles like Balance Method or Japanese style compared to a more direct local musculoskeletal style. So, it goes without saying, further studies are needed.
Hi, my name is Liz Dart BS, MSAOM, EAMP, LMP. After 15 years in the healing arts, I am currently in the final stretches of earning my DAOM at Bastyr University while participating in clinical rounds at Harborview Medical Center.
Biomedicine Review Resources
May 2016. "Stretching, Connective Tissue, Chronic Pain and Cancer" talk by Helene Langevin. Helene begins the talk at about minute 9. length of presentation is 58 minutes.
November 2015, Helene Langevin, PhD's talk on Acupuncture, Oncology and Fascia at Joint Conference (SAR, SIO, FRS). 35 minutes.
- Research Review: NSAIDs reduce the effectiveness of electro-acupuncture on decreasing pain and inflammation.
- The resource section includes a biomedical review of the inflammation pathway and a review of the pharmacology of NSAIDs.
- Biomedicine Review: the mu-Opioid Receptor
- Research Reviews for the Community, recruiting Volunteers to write reviews
- The Integrative Medicine Researcher, a resource list
- The Field of Acupuncture Research in Just 10 Minutes
- When Discussing Acupuncture with a Physician, Know These Key Papers
- White Paper: Acupuncture's Role in Solving the Opioid Epidemic
- Joint Commission Pain Management Standard Update for Clarity on Non-Pharm Therapies
- Metrics: Using a Validated Pain Scale in Clinical Practice
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