A new medical advice article in the Washington Post answered the question "Does Acupuncture Work for Chronic Pain?" with a helpful comparison.
There has been a lot of attention on the neuroimaging studies attempting to unravel the effects of psychedelics on the brain, particularly parsing out the way psychedelics appear to help "reset" brain connectivity in ways that support improvements in mental health, creativity, and spiritual revelation.
Similar neuroimaging has been going on in acupuncture research for decades with less attention, but with far greater amounts of evidence demonstrating that acupuncture achieves effects above and beyond placebo, even active placebo involving needling random points around the body, especially for pain and mental health.
Dr. Trisha Pasricha, MD, MPH, the author of the article, interviewed a researcher who has done studies on how acupuncture stimulates pain receptors in the brain compared to placebo, known in acupuncture research as "sham acupuncture". The researcher, Richard Harris, a professor and endowed chair of the University of California, Irvine Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, made a helpful comparison, noting:
"People talk about psychedelics reshaping the nervous system. Acupuncture kind of does the same thing."
We have briefly discussed this "reshaping" effect in a previous blog post, and I have covered the rich body of research around the neuromodulating effects of acupuncture in a Continuing Education Series I recently offered through the Integrative Healing Institute. The basic summary is that acupuncture alters brain connectivity in ways that resolve patterns of disease, especially around pain, anxiety/depression, and dysautonomias.
So should you be "microdosing"? Should you be gently stimulating your brain in ways that encourages healthier patterns of brain activity and brain health, improving chronic pain patterns, helping the body self-regulate and achieve healthier rhythms? We definitely think so.
There are practically no downsides to acupuncture and only the possibility of finding restored health, restored sense of well-being, and improving resilience in the face of an ever-stressful world.
If you have questions about how acupuncture might address your health concerns or medical conditions, please reach out to us. We offer free 20 minute consults to help determine if we can help you. Sign up for a phone call with us.