Acupuncture and placebo: Effects on delaying the terminating response to a painful stimulus

F. S. Berlin, R. L. Bartlett, J. D. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An experiment was performed to determine whether needles inserted into appropriate acupuncture points could delay the onset of a pain terminating response more than needles inserted as placebos into inappropriate points. A heat source contained in a modified Hardy Wolff Goodell dolorimeter was used as a stimulus to produce pain on the posterolateral aspects of the left forearms of volunteer subjects. Subjects pressed a switch as soon as pain was experienced, and the latency between stimulus onset and response was measured to the nearest 100th of a second. Response latencies were recorded before and after needling, which included electrical stimulation. Needles placed in specific acupuncture points called Ho Ku and Wai Kuan delayed the onset of the pain terminating response slightly more than needles inserted as placebos. Even with needles in appropriate acupuncture points, analgesia was slight and subjects still experienced pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-531
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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