How does it work?
Redirect. Enhance. Restore.
Traditional Chinese medicine holds that our health is maintained by a balance of vital energy in the body (or Qi, pronounced chee). If Qi becomes stagnant or deficient, one experiences symptoms of pain, fatigue or dysfunction. Stimulation of acupuncture points along meridian pathways that influence the organ systems, muscle networks, and fascial planes can help your body redirect and rebuild this energy, enhance resilience, improve function, and restore balance.
Enhance endorphins. Circulate blood. Relax the nervous system. Reduce inflammation. Regulate neurotransmitters and hormones. Relieve pain.
Scientific findings have revealed that acupuncture has many local and systemic effects to enhance circulation and stimulate neurotransmitters and other naturally occurring chemicals that mediate pain and reduce inflammation. Acupuncture also has systemic effects via the central and autonomic nervous systems.
Pain, stress, mood, functional issues:
Acupuncture can down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system, or the “fight or flight” reaction and induce the parasympathetic or vagal nerve activity related to relaxation and digestion among other functions like heart rate and blood pressure, making acupuncture especially useful for stress related dysfunction.
Acupuncture has been found to regulate peristalsis, or intestinal motion of the intestines, benefitting both diarrhea and constipation. Neurotransmitters related to mood and cravings can increase with treatment.
A landmark study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2012 found pain scores were significantly reduced in 17,000 patients undergoing treatment for back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache and shoulder pain. A huge sample size and a very prestigious journal! This study caught the attention of legislators and doctors looking for alternatives to opioid medications for pain.
Hormones and adrenals:
Acupuncture has also been found to have a regulatory effect on progesterone and estrogen levels. By down-regulating the sympathetic nervous system, influencing the feedback to the endocrine or hormonal systems, acupuncture can help with HPA axis dysfunction (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal), the dysregulated stress response that can affect the adrenals and ovaries and lead to fatigue, chronic inflammation, and hormonal imbalances.
Tsuchiya, M, Sato, E et al. Acupuncture Enhances Generation of Nitric Oxide and Increases Local Circulation. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2007; 104(2): 301-307
Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, et al. Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(19):1444–1453. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/1357513
Goldman, N., Chen, M., Fujita, T. et al. Adenosine A1 receptors mediate local anti-nociceptive effects of acupuncture. Nat Neurosci 13, 883–888 (2010).