New Studies Reveal Power of Acupuncture

Acupuncture treatment

Thanks to the hard work of researchers around the world, science can now explain the mechanism for acupuncture’s effectiveness: it harnesses the body’s natural ability to fight pain. Endorphins and other chemicals are the body’s natural way of battling pain, and when patients choose acupuncture treatment for pain relief, their body is flooded with pain-relieving substances.

Massive Study Conducted

Some of the best evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture was conducted in 2012, when researchers looked at over two dozen separate and independent studies that examined both how and why acupuncture treatment works. This meta-research, which was conducted at one of the world’s premier cancer hospitals in New York City, focused on studies of long-term, chronic pain, which is a kind of pain that is unusually difficult to treat. Medications often lose their effectiveness over time and patients must deal with a host of side effects. Altogether, these studies showed that when patients were treated with acupuncture, they experienced more pain relief than those who were not treated.

Just a Placebo?

Skeptics may argue that those who feel relief from acupuncture are merely experiencing the placebo effect. However, these studies also accounted for this phenomenon. Patients who received a placebo instead of acupuncture treatment did not respond as well as those who were treated with the real thing. These results were published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.


One of the most powerful substances that the body makes to fight pain is known as adenosine. Adenosine is released when the body experiences an injury—and it is also released during acupuncture treatment. Adenosine and other natural, pain-killing chemicals are thought to be even more powerful than narcotics, and they are certainly much safer.

Better Than Drugs

Because acupuncture is not addictive and cannot cause an overdose, it is appealing to practitioners who prefer to use safe and natural methods of pain relief rather than potentially dangerous narcotics. An Australian study has demonstrated that acupuncture is just as effective as medication when treating moderate pain caused by sprains, headaches and similar conditions.

It is time to put to rest the controversy surrounding acupuncture and take advantage of what it offers: a safe, effective alternative to drug treatment for those who experience chronic pain.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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