HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
The main 14 acupuncture channels lie within the skin and are also said to have a direct link to the internal organs. In stimulating a particular point or area with acupuncture, massage, moxibustion, or cupping, the objective remains the same - to influence and regulate particular functions of Qi, Blood, and Fluids within the body. If we look at this through the perspective of Western medicine, it is the blood vessels, veins, arteries, nervous system and connective tissue, and through this network, each cell in a particular area that is responsible for communicating the regulation process.
There are various explanations and theories about how acupuncture works, although we are just beginning to understand this ancient science, some of the most common modern scientific theories on the mechanisms of acupuncture are:
Acupuncture communicates with the nervous system regulating the function of the body, affecting higher brain areas, stimulating the secretion of endorphins in the brain and spinal cord. The release of neurotransmitters also influences the immune and pain signaling systems.
BLOOD CHEMISTRY THEORY
Acupuncture positively affects the blood concentrations of triglycerides, cholesterol, and phospholipids, suggesting acupuncture can both raise and diminish peripheral blood components, thereby regulating the body toward homeostasis.
AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM THEORY
Acupuncture stimulates the release of norepinephrine, acetylcholine and several types of opioids, affecting changes in their turnover rate, normalizing the autonomic nervous system, and reducing pain.
VASCULAR-INTERSTITIAL (CIRCULATORY) THEORY
Acupuncture affects the electrical system of the body by creating or enhancing closed-circuit transport in tissues. This facilitates healing by allowing the transfer of material and electrical energy between normal and injured tissues.
GATE CONTROL THEORY
Acupuncture re-sets pain signals in the nervous system by activating non-nociceptive receptors that inhibit the transmission of pain signals in the dorsal horn, "gating" our painful stimuli.