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  Acupuncture Reduces Protein Linked to Stress in First of Its Kind Animal Study
ScienceDaily | 2011-12-19

Acupuncture significantly reduces levels of a protein in rats linked to chronic stress, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) have found. They say their animal study may help explain the sense of wellbeing that many people receive from this ancient Chinese therapy.

Published online in December in Experimental Biology and Medicine, the researchers say that if their findings are replicated in human studies, acupuncture would offer a proven therapy for stress, which is often difficult to treat.

"It has long been thought that acupuncture can reduce stress, but this is the first study to show molecular proof of this benefit," says the study's lead author, Ladan Eshkevari, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Georgetown's School of Nursing & Health Studies, a part of GUMC.

Eshkevari, who is also a nurse anesthetist as well as a certified acupuncturist, says she conducted the study because many of the patients she treats with acupuncture in the pain clinic reported a "better overall sense of wellbeing -- and they often remarked that they felt less stress."

While traditional Chinese acupuncture has been thought to relieve stress -- in fact, the World Health Organization states that acupuncture is useful as adjunct therapy in more than 50 disorders, including chronic stress -- Eshkevari says that no one has biological proof that it does so.

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