How Acupuncture Affects the Body

By Jennifer Ramos

Acupuncture has become more accepted as an effective treatment for many different types of disorders in recent years. Decades of scientific research has concluded that acupuncture does indeed have physiological effects on the body based upon several different theories.  Acupuncture has been proven to stimulate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland and as a result affects neurotransmitters, neurohormones, stimulates blood flow, and increases immune functions.

Some current theories of the mechanism of acupuncture from the National Institution of Health:

1. Neurotransmitter Theory: Acupuncture affects higher brain areas, stimulating secretion of beta-endorphins and enkephalins in the brain and spinal cord. The release of neurotransmitters influences the immune system and reduces sensitivity to painful stimuli.

2. Autonomic Nervous System Theory: Acupuncture stimulated the release of norepinephrine, acetylcholine and several types of opioids, affecting changes in their turnover rate, normalizing the autonomic nervous system and reducing pain.

3. Gate Control Theory: Acupuncture activates non-nociceptive receptors that inhibit the transmission of nociceptive signals in the dorsal horn, “gating out” painful stimuli.

4. Vascular-Interstitial Theory: Acupuncture affects the electrical system of the body be creating or enhancing closed-circuit transport on tissues. This facilitates healing by allowing the transfer of material and electrical energy between normal and injured tissues.

5. Blood Chemistry Theory: Acupuncture affects the blood concentration or triglyceries, cholesterol, and phospholipids, suggesting that acupuncture can both raise and diminish peripheral blood components, thereby regulating the body toward homeostasis.

Simply put, acupuncture has been scientifically proven to boost the immune system, reduce pain, calm the nervous system, and facilitate healing, as well as affecting blood chemistry. Therefore, acupuncture is suitable for treating a myriad of diseases and disorders. The World Health Organization states, “In the hands of a well-trained practitioner, acupuncture has much broader applications beyond pain relief. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of common illnesses.

It is my hope that science continues to study and to prove how acupuncture affects the body. In doing so, it will become more accepted in our Western cultures. Acupuncture works very effectively on its own or in conjunction with other health therapies.

My treatment style reflects the comfort level of the patient.  Treatments are very nourishing, respectful and caring. I use other modalities in my treatments such as massage, cupping and moxabustion if necessary. I also treat from a Western anatomical perspective, using motor points and trigger points to release soft tissue.

If you would like to try acupuncture, or have any questions, please phone us at 604-567-2666 to book in for a free consultation.