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October 2021

Pain. 1980 Oct; 9(2): 183-97.

Evoked potential assessment of acupunctural analgesia: attempted reversal with naloxone.

Chapman CR, Colpitts YM, Benedetti C, Kitaeff R, Gehrig JD.

The effects of electrical acupunctural stimulation (2 Hz) on pain judgments and evoked potentials are reported for two experiments using dental dolorimetry. In the first experiment subjects received acupuncture at points located in the same neurologic segment as the test tooth. In the second experiment subjects received acupuncture at points on the hands located on acupuncture meridians. In both instances acupuncture resulted in a reduction in pain intensity and smaller evoked potential amplitudes, but naloxone neither reversed the analgesia nor did it affect the evoked potentials. A pilot study was carried out to determine whether manual rather than electrical stimulation would produce an analgesia reversible by naloxone, but it failed to do so. These findings contribute to the growing evidence that acupunctural stimulation significantly reduces pain sensibility in volunteers undergoing dolorimetric testing, but they do not support the hypothesis that endorphin release is a mechanism by which acupuncture exerts analgesia.

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