- One aspect is that acupuncture points stimulate the central nervous system. When stimulated with acupuncture needles, the CNS (Central Nervous System) releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. Chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins help the body return to a state of balance (homeostasis) physically and emotionally.
- When acupuncture was introduced to the West, in the 1970s, it has been rejected and scrutinized by the Western medical field. This has prevented researchers and academic institutions from incorporating acupuncture and herbal medicine into the mainstream medical system.
- In time, more people turned to acupuncture and herbal medicine reporting results where Western medicine did not have an answer for complex cases. In the last 20 years, this has created a higher demand for research to explain how acupuncture works.
- A research study from 2018 identified the difficulties of researching acupuncture due to the unfamiliarity of Traditional Chinese Medicine medical terminology, a lack of specificity of acupuncture point locations, different needle insertion technics, different treatment approaches and anatomical structures of meridians.
- In a systematic review of physiological reasoning from acupuncture, a total of 79 clinical trials were identified and examined in 2005.
- Out of the 79 trials, 53 (67%) trials exhibit a physiologic basis for acupuncture: 33 (62%) proposed neurochemical mechanism, 2 (4%) reported segmental nervous system effect, 6 (11%) studies found autonomic nervous system regulation, 3 (6%) found local effects, 5 (9%) affects the brain, and 5 (9%) other effects.
- Demonstrating the efficacy and mechanism of Acupuncture is no simple task yet year after year more information helps us understand. The more research is undertaken, the more you will see acupuncture as part of integrative care plans.
- The National Institute of Health research has shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment for nausea, addiction, headaches, low back pain, and so much more!
By Kayla Forstall and Dr. Guillaume Vincent, L.Ac.