UCI Health will see you now: Welcome to our new co-workers and patients from Fountain Valley, Lakewood, Los Alamitos and Placentia-Linda!
Read more about our recent acquisition.

Acupuncture reshapes the nervous system

Research shows changes in brain activity after treatment

August 02, 2023
acupuncture researcher and susan samueli integrative health institute endowed chair richard harris wearing dark suit, tie, glasses and smiling outdoors
UCI Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute
Endowed Chair Richard Harris, PhD, is a
professor in the UCI School of Medicine
Department of Anesthesiology &
Perioperative Care.

IN THE NEWS: Despite research that has demonstrated the benefits of acupuncture in treating certain conditions, including chronic pain, skepticism about its effectiveness persists in the west. Part of that may be a lack of understanding about how it works.

Washington Post logo black letters on white background

Recent data give insight into the effectiveness of the staple of East Asian medicine and how it affects the body. Richard Harris, a professor of anesthesiology and perioperative care at the UCI School of Medicine, spoke to The Washington Post about his research showing changes in brain activity after acupuncture.

“People talk about psychedelics shaping the nervous system. Acupuncture kind of does the same thing.”

Harris is a co-principal investigator on a team of researchers at Harvard and UCI who were recently awarded a five-year, $5.8 million grant by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health to develop a new repository and database for acupuncture research.

Harris is an endowed chair at the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute. His recent research has included the neurobiological mechanisms of both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic (acupuncture/acupressure) treatments for chronic pain and fatigue conditions and the role of brain neurotransmitters and their receptors in humans with chronic pain. 

To make an appointment at the institute, call 949-824-7000.

Read more