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Acupuncture Analgesia and Anesthesia

Terence M. Murphy, MB, ChB; John J. Bonica, MD
Arch Surg. 1977;112(7):896-902. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1977.01370070110018.
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• After the war of liberation, Mao Tse Tung encouraged an integration of Western and traditional Chinese medicine. Several schools of therapeutic acupuncture have defined different points of puncture, originally assumed to be on an empiric basis but now rationalized as areas where nerve endings congregate. Results of therapeutic acupuncture in China cannot be evaluated because of inadequate record keeping. At the University of Washington Pain Clinic, immediate results (two to three days) are good but never lasting, nor do they decrease concomitant medication. For anesthesia, acupuncture acts to produce only hypalgesia in most patients, although some experience total analgesia. Patient selection and mental preparation are careful. Hence, the method is used in much less than 10% of the operations in China, and in these the analgesia is satisfactory by Western standards in only approximately 30%. Concepts as to the mode of action of acupuncture analgesia range from an attitudinal change towards sensory input to the release of a neurohumoral analgesic substances.

(Arch Surg 112:896-902, 1977)

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