The Ancient Art of Acupuncture Meets Modern Cardiology

by John C. Longhurst

Acupuncture has been evolving within Chinese traditional medicine for 4,000 years, but science is only beginning to pin down when, how, and why it works. The answer lies mostly in our brain and peripheral nervous system. A cardiologist who began as a complete skeptic a decade ago, when a scientist at Shanghai Medical School approached him about collaborating on acupuncture research, explains what is known, and still unknown, about how our brains can be needled into coming to the body's aid. He looks at the implications for areas from pain control to his own specialty, cardiovascular health.

From the article:

"Ten years ago I knew next to nothing about acupuncture. Then, in 1992, on a trip to the People's Republic of China, I was approached by Shanghai Medical University professor Peng Li about doing collaborative research on it. Skeptical, I firmly declined his invitation, imagining that acupuncture was a folk medicine-perhaps one that functioned as a placebo. Professor Li and I continued to talk, however, and three years later I agreed to work with him. Since then, I have seen in my own laboratory evidence that acupuncture does work-not only to relieve pain but also as a possible treatment for some of the complex problems of cardiovascular disease. It is time to find out how we can benefit from this ancient science."

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