Acupuncture the Science (Evidence Guide for Sceptics Part Two)
Updated: May 17
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has become increasingly popular in the Western world. This alternative therapy involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body, known as acupuncture points. The process is believed to restore balance to the body's blood flow, to treat a variety of ailments and promote overall wellness.
At a molecular level, the insertion of acupuncture needles triggers a cascade of biochemical events within the body. Research has shown that acupuncture can affect the release of neurotransmitters, hormones, and other signaling molecules. These chemical messengers help to regulate various bodily functions and play a role in pain perception, mood, and immune function.
One of the key biochemical reactions that occurs during acupuncture is the release of endorphins. These are the body's natural painkillers, which can help to reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body. Endorphins can also produce a sense of euphoria or well-being, which may contribute to the relaxation and stress reduction often reported by acupuncture patients.
Acupuncture has also been shown to affect the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is involved in regulating mood, sleep, and appetite, while dopamine plays a role in motivation, reward, and reinforcement. By modulating these chemical messengers, acupuncture may help to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Studies also suggest that acupuncture can influence the activity of the immune system. In particular, acupuncture has been shown to increase the production of natural killer cells, which are important in the body's defense against viral infections and cancer. Acupuncture can also stimulate the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines, which can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Overall, the effects of acupuncture on the body are complex and multifaceted. From a molecular perspective, the insertion of acupuncture needles can trigger a number of biochemical reactions that help to restore balance and promote healing. While the evidence supporting the efficacy of acupuncture is still mixed, many people have reported significant improvement in their symptoms and an overall sense of well-being after undergoing this ancient therapy. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. If you have any questions feel free to book in for a complementary 15 minute consultation or for an initial treatment. Thank you for taking the time to read Part two of this blog post.