A study conducted by Indiana University School of Medicine published in the journal Stem Cells in March 2017 found that the utilization of electroacupuncture releases stem cells, which in turn helps tissue repair. This can be especially helpful for athletes who need to heal from various injuries as quickly as possible so they can get back on the court or field to start playing once more.
This study shows that electroacupuncture triggers a neurological mechanism that can both help promote tissue repair as well as help to reduce injury-related pain. These findings show great insight of how electroacupuncture stimulates your brain, causing the release of stem cells, as well as adding additional information regarding the cells’ healing properties.
Details on This Study:
With a team comprised of over forty scientists at institutions in both the USA and in South Korea was led by several senior researchers including Maria B. Grant, Marilyn Glick, Mervin C. Yoder, Richard Klinger, Pauline Klinger, Fletcher A. White, and Vergil K. Stoelting. All these authors are distinguished professors and directors in their fields, helping to guide and focus the study to produce these invaluable findings that we can use today.
The researchers in this study conducted a series of lab tests that involved humans, horses and rodents to follow the effects of electroacupuncture from the stimulus of the needle itself to the brain, where it resulted in the release of MSCs (or reparative mesenchymal stem cells) into the bloodstream of the patient being studied.
Contingent upon the species the researchers were testing on, electroacupuncture led to the activation of the hypothalamus, a part of your brain that is responsible for controlling the nervous system and your involuntary bodily functions (including your heart rate and digestion). This happened within nine to twenty-two minutes, and the stem cells were mobilized within two hours.
Dr. White, a neuroscientist at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center located in Indianapolis stated that, “the acupuncture stimulus we’re giving these animals has a rapid effect on the neuroanatomical pathways that connect the stimulus point in the arm to responsive neurons in the spinal cord and into a region in the brain called the hypothalamus. In turn, the hypothalamus directs outgoing signals to stem cell niches resulting in their release.”
The researchers also found that these electroacupuncture treatments resulted in higher thresholds for both injury related pain and for much higher increases in a type of collagen that is known to promote tendon repair, along with anti-inflammatory cells, which are also known for predicting faster healing times for injuries.Due to these findings, Dr. White expressed how these new findings may lead to new and improved strategies for pain management and tissue repair related to injuries. He stated that if they can capture the MSCs from the individual’s blood after electroacupuncture to save for future re-introduction into the patient after a surgery it could possible help to treat chronic pain and help to
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