How Acupuncture Works:
Acupuncture needles stimulate the central nervous system via peripheral receptors to give the brain information. Thermoreceptors, mechanoreceptors, chemoreceptors and photoreceptors all tell the brain specific information so it can act on the stimulus.
Local insertion of an Acupuncture needle causes light inflammation so that the body can bring in more white blood cells, increase blood flow and stimulate the immune system to bring in macrophages to clean the area up. For example working on arthritis with local needling would produce an effect to heal the area. A more powerful and farther reaching affect of Acupuncture is systemically.
Acupuncture releases enkephalins, endorphins, serotonin etc. These neurotransmitters and hormones are the reason why acupuncture is so effective for pain and also in balancing the endocrine system. Releasing these substances help to down regulate pain signals in the midbrain and is quite effective for chronic pain syndromes with no known functional cause.
Our brain is the master control center of our body. Stimulating the nervous system enhances the innate healing mechanism. Acupuncture forces vasodilation, improving circulation, enhances the immune system and prevents disease and injury. Acupuncture reduces inflammatory markers such as TNF, proteins and IL-1B. It also works on neurohormonal pathways via the pituitary gland releasing feel good hormones and increasing the pain threshold.
The big disservice in Acupuncture has been the western translation as a form of energy medicine which often is misconstrued. Qi and Meridians have been mistranslated as some obscure metaphysical idea of energy and invisible pathways. This is simply misinformation and untrue. It is through the vessel network system where Acupuncture promotes the circulation of oxygen rich blood and nutrients to travel through the body to promote healing. Now it is our understanding of neuroscience that we can comprehend what the ancient healers knew!
On how Acupuncture Works:
Mechanisms of Acupuncture–Electroacupuncture on Persistent Pain
Neurobiological Mechanisms of Acupuncture
for Some Common Illnesses
Acupuncture Blocks Stress Hormones
Beyond Neurohumoral Theory
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