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Georgetown University Medical researchers find science behind acupuncture

Friday - 3/29/2013, 4:53pm  ET

Science behind acupuncture

Kristi King, WTOP reporter

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WASHINGTON - Local researchers are now closer to understanding how acupuncture works to reduce chronic stress.

The alternative medicine practiced for centuries seems to work on rats, local researchers found. Research conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center found acupuncture reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the brain and blood of stressed out rats.

"Many practitioners of acupuncture have observed that this ancient practice can reduce stress in their patients, but there is a lack of biological proof of how or why this happens," says the study's lead author Ladan Eshkevari in the Medical Center news release.

Rats were used as test subjects because they are often used to research the biological determinants of stress, the release said.

"We found that electronic acupuncture blocks the chronic, stress-induced elevations of the HPA axis hormones and the sympathetic NPY pathway," Eshkevari says in the release.

Kristi King contributed to this report.

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