Acupuncture and the Restful Brain

Default Mode Network

In neuroscience, there is a portion of the brain that is active when we are alert but not task oriented. It is called the Default Mode Network.  It is active when daydreaming, thinking of the past, or planning for the future. It is sometimes referred to as the task negative network. 

The default mode network is thought to have a relationship with diseases such as chronic pain, depression, and autism. In these diseases a decrease in the activity is the default mode network has been noted. 

Using functional MRIs researchers have been able to watch the effects of acupuncture on the brain. One of the findings noted was an increased stimulation of the default mode network. This increase in activity shows that acupuncture treatment helped "turn the brain off." 

Meditation has also been proven to have powerful beneficial effects on the default mode network. Essentially meditative like states can be induced through acupuncture to help the brain recover and leave the task oriented mode.