I get asked this question all the time. After all, the practice of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is somewhat of an enigma, a vague medicine that people either swear by or disregard as snake oil. In fact there is a reason it works so well, and it’s not just a placebo effect. Only recently have we been able to put studies together that help us understand why and how Acupuncture is doing the job it’s doing. Whether it is for pain relief, emotional support or hormone balance, there are a number of cellular and biochemical reactions taking place systemically (throughout the body) at the insertion of even just one needle. Think of it as a sort of ripple effect, anytime you contact the surface of a body of still water you can’t help but cause a ripple that affects the entire body. It’s the same way with Acupuncture.
Recently, new research has been published on the immune enhancing effects of Acupuncture and how that modifies your pain and swelling. Published in Molecular Neurobiology this year, the researchers investigated the effects of needling just one point on the leg. The research team found a remarkable effect.
“Manual acupuncture stimulation downregulated M1 macrophages (pro-inflammatory cells) and upregulated M2 macrophages (anti-inflammatory cells). As a result, acupuncture reduced pain and swelling”. – See more at: http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1336-acupuncture-pain-killing-mystery-revealed#sthash.UAPMot53.dpuf
Looking further into the biochemistry of this reaction, we know that M1 Macrophages are an important source of Interleukin 10, a powerful anti-inflammatory.
“Acupuncture literally flips a switch wherein initial inflammatory responses are reduced and the secondary healing responses are promoted”
Using acupuncture for muscle injury, and other tissue trauma is helpful in that it improves your healing response. It is great for reducing pain, swelling and the duration of recovery. In addition, if you are an athlete of any kind and deal with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) as a result (a kind of muscle damage in itself), Acupuncture is useful in your recovery and furthermore your adaptation to training.
I hope you enjoyed this little informational article and I hope it helps you to understand even just a bit more about how Acupuncture works.
Till next time~ Come see how it works yourself!
Erin Resko L.Ac
da Silva, Morgana D., Franciane Bobinski, Karina L. Sato, Sandra J. Kolker, Kathleen A. Sluka, and Adair RS Santos. “IL-10 Cytokine Released from M2 Macrophages Is Crucial for Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture in a Model of Inflammatory Muscle Pain.” Molecular Neurobiology (2014): 1-13.
Rafael Torres-Rosas, Ghassan Yehia, Geber Peña, Priya Mishra, Maria del Rocio Thompson-Bonilla, Mario Adán Moreno-Eutimio, Lourdes Andrea Arriaga-Pizano, Armando Isibasi, Luis Ulloa. Dopamine mediates vagal modulation of the immune system by electroacupuncture. Nature Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nm.3479.
Wang, Ying, Rebekka Gehringer, Shaaban A. Mousa, Dagmar Hackel, Alexander Brack, and Heike L. Rittner. “CXCL10 Controls Inflammatory Pain via Opioid Peptide-Containing Macrophages in Electroacupuncture.” PloS one 9, no. 4 (2014): e94696.
– See more at: http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1336-acupuncture-pain-killing-mystery-revealed#sthash.UAPMot53.dpuf