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Acupuncture which elicits deqi may act to repair disrupted relationships between brain networks in patients with functional dyspepsia (FD). In a study by Chinese researchers, 70 FD patients were randomised to receive 20 sessions of acupuncture at unilateral Zhongwan REN-12 and bilateral Zusanli ST-36 either with or without deqi. In each group, 25 patients were randomly selected to undergo fMRI scans before and after treatment. The decrease in dyspepsia scores after treatment in the deqi group was significantly greater than that in the group without deqi. The deqi group showed significantly decreased resting state functional connectivity between regions in the amygdala (the brain’s ‘alarm system’) and structures belonging to the salience network and default mode network.

The participation of basolateral amygdala in the efficacy of acupuncture with deqi treating for functional dyspepsia. Brain Imaging Behav. 2021 Feb;15(1):216-230.