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Acupuncture One » Blog Archive » How does acupuncture work from a scientific perspective?

Needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.

The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and promoting physical and emotional well-being.

There are three main mechanisms of action:

  1. Conduction of electromagnetic signals: Western scientists have found evidence that acupuncture points are strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. Stimulating points along these pathways through acupuncture enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at a greater rate than under normal conditions. These signals may start the flow of pain-killing biochemicals, such as endorphins, and of immune system cells to specific sites in the body that are injured or vulnerable to disease.
  2. Activation of opioid systems: Research has found that several types of opioids may be released in the central nervous system during acupuncture treatment, thereby reducing pain.
  3. Changes in brain chemistry, sensation and involuntary body functions: Studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by positively changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Acupuncture also has been documented to affect the parts of the central nervous system such as immune reactions and processes whereby a person’s blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature are regulated.

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