MRI Study Shows How Acupuncture Stimulates The Brain

Another awesome blogpost on acupuncture…

This latest research comes from The Journal Of Magnetic Resonanace Imaging– scientists applied acupuncture on patients at two different acupoints (GB 40 and K3) and then conducted an MRI to see if there were any changes in the brain from the needling of these two acupoints (which are both found near the ankle). And, what they found was that these two different acupoints stimulated different areas of the brain. This research lends itself towards understanding the mechanisms behind acupunctures effectiveness and how it works.

Here is the abstract from the article:

A recent study published in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging demonstrates the neurophysiological effects of acupuncture using MRI technology. The researchers applied acupuncture to acupoint GB40 (Qixu) and acupuncture point K3 (Taixi). Results showed that GB40 stimulation specifically enhanced “connectivity between the superior temporal gyrus (STG) and anterior insula.” The STG is part of the temporal lobe of the brain located above the area of the ear. The anterior insula of the brain is located between the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex. K3 (Taixi) showed different results. K3 (Taixi) increased the connection strength between the STG and the postcentral gyrus. This distinction between GB40’s enhancement of the precentral gyrus and K3’s enhancement of the postcentral gyrus demonstrates acupuncture’s causal specificity of stimulation to differing acupuncture points. The researchers conclude that, “The current study demonstrates that acupuncture at different acupoints could exert different modulatory effects on RSNs. Our findings may help to understand the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying acupuncture specificity.”


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