Acupuncture, a traditional healing art surviving over four millennia, has its roots in indigenous Chinese Daoism.1 Although modern acupuncturists disregard Daoist philosophy, needling itself has never lost its basis of naturalness and simplicity. Acupuncture was fostered in the oriental world and reached many Western nations as a treatment for various chronic conditions, particularly pain. Evidence from several models has shown the analgesic effect of acupuncture, and yet there is no complete picture of how the needle works locally.

Recently, it was shown that acupuncture employs adenosine as a mediator for local pain control.2 3 Adenosine, a purine nucleoside, is present in large amounts only in response to needle stimulation at particular acupuncture points. Adenosine and its interaction with adenosine receptor A1 seems to blunt pain sensations. Since the physiological half-life of adenosine is extremely short (a few seconds in human plasma),4 its natural… Click here to read original article content.

Article Courtesy of Acupuncture in Medicine Chang Zheng Song, Qing Wei Wang, Chang Cheng Song