How does Acupuncture work?

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Acupuncture works by releasing your body’s natural painkillers

Clinical studies have shown how Acupuncture works to release natural neurotransmitters and hormones. These include β-Endorphin which lessens the body’s perception of pain, Met-enkephalin which regulates nociception in the body and Oxytocin, a which modulates pain and relaxes and calms people. All of these natural chemical changes act on the body’s pain receptors and transmit signals to the nervous system through the brain and spinal cord. 

Acupuncture works by strengthening the Mind-Body connection 

Acupuncture has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and help settle nerves.  It does this by lowering levels of the stress hormone Cortisol. Researchers have found Acupuncture relaxes and modulates the Limbic system which is involved in the body’s fight and flight response. In addition there are studies looking at the effect of Acupuncture to calm and deactivate the Amygdala which plays a key role in anxiety, depression and the detection of fear. The release of serotonin is also documented and this neurotransmitter is believed to help regulate mood, behaviour, memory and sleep.

All of these chemical changes in the brain contribute to increased feelings of calm, relaxation, positivity and greater wellbeing. In turn they all have a positive physical effect on the body. 

Acupuncture works by improving blood circulation

Acupuncture improves blood circulation, both in the local area and in the brain. It does this without raising arterial blood pressure or pulse rate. One of the ways it does this is to promote the release Adenosine. This neurotransmitter is a natural pain killer and also widens blood vessels and helps regulate heart rhythm.   This is one of the ways Acupuncture is thought to be helpful when treating circulatory imbalances.

Acupuncture could be considered as a type of micro-trauma in the body. This is perfectly safe, but the sensing of this micro-trauma sends messages to your brain that healing needs to occur in your body and the brain then releases the required chemicals to do this.

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Acupuncture supports healing and repair

The improvement in circulation also helps remove lactic acid and dead blood cells and the replenished blood helps to restore fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. Acupuncture has also been found to regulate immune function by normalising interferon levels and the immune response, speeding up the healing of infection and reducing systemic inflammation. 

Additional treatment adjuncts such as Moxa, Infrared heat and Cupping also help to dilate local blood vessels and increase local blood flow which in turn helps to decrease areas of local inflammation and swelling.

Acupuncture and the body’s natural energy charge

There is an electric charge (piezoelectric) created in every tissue and cell of the body. This natural charge communicates with different body systems: the organs, the bones and the muscles. This charge (which can also be called energy) runs freely through the fascia – the connective tissue found everywhere in the body.

Piezoelectric charge does not move ‘across’ tissues but instead ‘in between’ the tissues. Therefore it moves in and through the spaces between our different body systems. By moving this way the piezoelectric charge is able to effect different areas of the body, different body systems and organ systems simultaneously. 

There are many similarities between Qi and piezoelectric charge. Qi can’t be seen, but it moves around the body and you can feel it and experience the effects of it. This is similar to piezoelectric charge moving in between tissues and through the body and may explain why physical Acupuncture channels have yet to be detected and why needling one area of the body creates a healing response in a different area.

For further information on how Acupuncture works I encourage you to read “The Spark in the Machine” by Dr. Daniel Keown

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