About this Research Topic
Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate a particular part of the body for the purpose of inducing beneficial clinical effects. It has been applied for a wide variety of disorders, though application to analgesia has attracted the most scientific interest in the past few decades.
In terms of peripheral effects, local cellular and molecular changes around the site acupuncture needle insertion play a crucial role in triggering different clinically relevant effects. Needle stimulation has been shown to activate a number of different receptors for touch, pain and proprioception in the skin, fascia and muscle layer. In terms of central nervous system effects, acupuncture involves more than just needle insertion. There is a complex treatment ritual comprised of multimodal sensory stimulation. Thus, many factors associated with acupuncture needling (i.e., stimulation parameters, bodily sensations, and expectation of treatment effect) can contribute to acupuncture’s clinical effects. Ultimately, multiple factors combine to create a medical context that is multisensory and long-lasting, and can readily be imprinted onto the patient.
The aim of this Research Topic is to provide an interdisciplinary overview of research exploring the neural processing of acupuncture stimulation covering the whole pathway from peripheral to central nervous system and back. We encourage submissions that apply various methods (e.g., neuroimaging, behavioral neuroscience, molecular biology, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, and cognitive science) to evaluate healthy subjects and clinical patients suffering from various disorders. Research on non-human animal species is also appreciated. In this context, we welcome original research, reviews and mini-review articles.
Keywords: Acupuncture, autonomic nervous system, pain, pathway, placebo effect
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