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Acupuncture Improves Nitric Oxide Production
Nitric Oxide (NO) synthase activity has been found in acupoints and meridians
Even though it is commonly used, the mechanisms and impact of acupuncture on pain are not totally understood. Not long ago, increased nitric oxide (NO) synthase activity has been found in acupoints and meridians.
Nitric Oxide is a key regulator of local circulation, and because change in circulation can influence the build up and continuance of pain, it is proposed that acupuncture might regulate Nitric Oxide levels.
The effects of acupuncture on local Nitric Oxide levels and circulation were studied in a randomized, double-blind, crossover study with 20 volunteers. Each of the volunteers underwent one session each of real and noninvasive sham acupuncture in a single hand and forearm with a 1-wk interval between treatments.
Acupuncture increases Nitric Oxide levels
Nitric Oxide concentration in the plasma from the acupunctured arm was considerably increased by 2.8 +/- 1.5 micromol/L at 5 min and 2.5 +/- 1.4 micromol/L at 60 min after acupuncture.
Blood flow in palmar subcutaneous tissue of the acupunctured arm also increased, and this correlated with the Nitric Oxide increase. The above mentioned changes were not detected in noninvasive sham-acupunctured hands and forearms.
In conclusion, acupuncture increases the Nitric Oxide level in treated regions and thereby increases local circulation. These regulatory effects might contribute to pain relief provided by acupuncture.
Anesth Analg. 2007 Feb;104(2):301-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17242084
Keywords: acupuncture, nitric oxide, pain, nitric oxide (NO) synthase activity, acupoints, meridians, key regulator, local circulation, nitric oxide levels, circulation, palmar subcutaneous tissue
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