How does acupuncture work?
Several theories have been presented as to exactly how acupuncture works. One theory suggests that pain impulses are blocked from reaching the spinal cord or brain at various "gates" to these areas. Since a majority of acupuncture points are either connected to (or are located near) neural structures, this suggests that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system. Another theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce narcotic-like substances called endorphins, which reduce pain. Other studies have found that other pain-relieving substances called opioids may be released into the body during acupuncture treatment. Several processes have been proposed to explain acupuncture's effects, primarily those on pain. Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals either change the experience of pain or release other chemicals, such as hormones, that influence the body's self-regulating systems. The biochemical changes may stimulate the body's natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.
There are three main mechanisms:
- Conduction of electromagnetic signals: Western scientists have found evidence that acupuncture points an strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. Stimulating points along these pathways through acupuncture enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at it 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 that are injured or vulnerable to disease.
- Activation of opioid systems: research has found that several types of opioids may be released into the central nervous system during acupuncture treatment, thereby reducing pain.
- Changes in brain chemistry sensation, and Involuntary body functions: studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones in a good way. Acupuncture also has been documented to affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes whereby a person's blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature are regulated.
As a natural form of healing, acupuncture has the following benefits:
- provides drug-free pain relief
- effectively treats a wide range of acute and chronic ailments
- treats the underlying cause of disease and illness as well as the symptoms
- provides an hholistic approach to the treatment of disease and illness, linking body, mind and emotions
- assists in the prevention against disease and illness as well as the maintenance of general well-being