Extraordinary Meridians!

British Conference of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

13-15 September 2019
De Vere Staverton Estate,
Northamptonshire

Mel Hopper Koppelman

Workshop title

The biochemistry of acupuncture

Workshop times

Saturday

Workshop description

Not only has acupuncture’s effectiveness for a wide variety of conditions been demonstrated in a veritable explosion of clinical evidence, but basic science research is continually shedding light on how acupuncture works from a biochemical and physiological point of view. It’s clear that acupuncture works on many levels simultaneously, and even within the biochemical view, we can see a number of complementary systems being accessed through treatment. 

In this talk, Mel is going to focus in on a biochemical process called ‘purinergic signalling’ and how ATP and adenosine, two key purines in the body, play a pivotal role in the biochemistry of acupuncture. She will walk us through how ATP and adenosine function, basic science research demonstrating the effect of acupuncture needling on this system, and the clinical relevance of this ubiquitous system. 

One of the biggest challenges we as clinicians face is explaining how acupuncture works in a way that is acceptable and understandable to an outside audience. While we will never be able to explain the totality of acupuncture’s clinical effects using reductionist biochemistry alone, the model of purinergic signalling offers us a useful communication tool to help improve acupuncture’s recognition as a valid and effective medical intervention. 

Speaker biography

Mel Hopper Koppelman is passionate about improving people's access to safe and effective healthcare by communicating acupuncture's scientific evidence. She is the executive director of Evidence Based Acupuncture, an international non-profit organisation dedicated to improving public health through better information about acupuncture’s considerable evidence base.

Mel completed her MSc in acupuncture from the Northern College of Acupuncture (NCA) in York, UK in 2012 and a second MSc in nutrition and functional medicine from the University of Western States in Portland, Oregon, USA in 2015. She is a reviewer for a number of peer-reviewed medical journals and has published numerous articles about acupuncture research.

Mel is a research supervisor and guest lecturer at the NCA master’s programme in York, UK. Her blog, abetterwaytohealth.com, provides readers with informative analysis of acupuncture research and evidence-based medicine. She practises acupuncture and functional medicine in Rhode Island, USA.

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