Acupuncture can relieve pain and is not a placebo, a study backs the treatment. 

The study found that the treatment calms brain cells that are used to process and perceive pain.

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine treatment wherein needles are injected into specific parts of the body to relieve bad backs, sprained ankles and other pains.

In the study, it looked on how acupuncture affects the brain in reacting to electric shocks. 

Eighteen volunteers underwent sophisticated brain scans while an electric shock was applied to their left ankle.


Acupuncture needles were placed specifically between the toes, below the knees and near the thumb of each volunteer.

A second set of brain scan showed noticeably less activity in the brain’s pain regions, the study claims.

Moreover, it claims that benefits of the treatment are all in the mind. 

Patients benefit from the ‘placebo effect’ in which care, attention and the simple belief that the treatment will work lead to improvements in health, the study adds.

Previous studies have already revealed that the physical act of sticking in acupuncture needles and twisting them releases a flood of natural painkillers.