Does Acupuncture Really Work?

Inflammation can both restore and damage. A main process of the immune system, inflammation is vital for improving from an injury or infection but too much can contribute to diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and other serious diseases. Thus, it becomes necessary to keep it in control and fine-tune inflammation. 

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture uses fine needles to excite points on the body’s surface that scientists believe sends nerve and biochemical indications to conforming organs and systems. Old Chinese treatment defines this process as enhancing the flow of energy through unseen meridian channels to advance health. This practice is used globally to help relieve pain, depression, nausea, digestive problems, and other sicknesses and has been combined into some parts of Western medicine. Nevertheless, exactly how it impacts the nervous system is still uncertain.

Investigators found that acupuncture stimulates different nerve pathways that can either suppress or promote inflammation, liable on where, when, and how it is used during animal trials. Their effort revealed that acupuncture motivation can reduce systemic inflammation in mice experiencing cytokine storm, which is a kind of immune response in which the body quickly releases additional inflammatory proteins. However, experts team also found that acupuncture can degrade inflammation when directed at the wrong time, signifying the ancient healing technique can be harmful if not practiced correctly. These results, defined in the journal, hold promise for taming acupuncture’s safety and efficacy and ultimately may help treat patients with inflammatory illnesses.

What does research indicate?

Experts applied electroacupuncture, in which mild electric current permits among two acupuncture needles, to mice with rampant inflammation from a bacteria-induced infection. They studied the effects of this stimulation on two types of nerve cells, chromaffin cells and noradrenergic neurons, which secrete the hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine, believed to play a part in the body’s agony response. By means of a genetic tool aimed at these nerve cells, they established that chromaffin cells and noradrenergic neurons are key managers of inflammation.

Questions like at what time the treatment was done, settlement of the acupuncture needles, and intensity of the stimulation, may probably produce different results in modulating inflammation.

In another experiment, researchers directed high-intensity electroacupuncture to rodents’ abdomens and hind legs at different stages of infection. The stimulation excited noradrenergic nerve fibers in the spleen that assisted to either reduce or fuel inflammation, based on when it was given. Mice treated proactively right before their cytokine storm developed less inflammation and fared much better than untreated mice and their survival rate improved from 20 percent to nearly 80 percent. Nevertheless, when the cytokine storm has previously reached the top, high-intensity acupuncture makes inflammation worse, warn experts. This conclusion may have vital clinical implications, they note, as patients often seek acupuncture therapy after they’ve already established a health problem.

How important is site of Acupuncture?

The investigators gave low-intensity electroacupuncture to a point on the animals’ hind legs, lashing a different nerve pathway called the vagal-adrenal axis that’s been shown to calm systemic inflammation. The method caused chromaffin cells in the adrenal glands to secrete dopamine. Subsequently within just 15 minutes of stimulation, these mice displayed lower cytokine levels, which interpreted to a better survival rate than that for the untreated mice. This kind of acupuncture treatment reduced a whole variety of cytokines concurrently.

Remarkably, the vagal-adrenal path could be excited only via the leg, not the stomach. Expert says this indicates the body has a prearranged neural network that may produce separate biological changes when different regions are encouraged by acupuncture.

Does intensity of stimulation matter?

For mice with cytokine storm, low-intensity motivation was more dependable for quelling inflammation than its high-intensity counterpart, which can either defeat or worsen inflammation. Expert suggests that for treating ongoing cytokine storm, low-intensity treatment to the hind-limb regions offers a safer route, and that the strength of the stimulation matters.


For experts, these group results indicate that the old practice of acupuncture is far away from being folk medication & has a technical basis that could be understood. It’s a secret expert faith to investigate further, through basic research in animals and work with clinical partners to find how acupuncture treatments may probably help humans improve fine-tune inflammation.