How does Acupuncture work?.....Really.

While the concepts of acupuncture/traditional Chinese medicine may seem far-fetched and outdated in this age of technology and medical advancement, research reveals that the ancient Chinese weren't all that far off.

Here are a few examples of modern medical techniques validating acupuncture treatment:

Neuroimaging (MRI of the brain) studies show that acupuncture seems to calm areas of the brain that register pain and activate those involved in rest and recuperation.

Doppler ultrasound (which measures in real time) shows that acupuncture increases blood flow in treated areas.

Thermal imaging shows that it can make inflammation subside.  Acupuncture treatment also leads to endorphin release. 

Many of the acupuncture points correspond to nerve bundles or muscle trigger points (think the area in your upper back between the base of your neck and the tip of your shoulder). Several meridian pathways closely follow major arteries and nerves. Consider this: When someone is experiencing a heart attack, the pain radiates across the chest and down the left arm. As you may have guessed, that is the path of the Heart Meridian.  Similarly, Gallbladder pain from inflammation or gallstones will radiate to the right upper shoulder, similar to where the gallbladder meridian goes on the right side of the body.  

"When acupuncture needles are inserted by the practitioner into the body and rotated, connective tissue wraps around them like spaghetti around a fork, according to ultrasound studies at the University of Vermont. Helene Langevin, research associate professor of neurology, says this action stretches cells in the connective tissue much like massage and yoga do, and may act like acupuncture meridians to send signals throughout the body."

While we don't know everything about how or why acupuncture works, the research looks promising.  Medical minds aside, as I have mentioned in previous posts, this stuff works.  For 5,000 years people have been helped by the simple act of inserting tiny needles into the surface of the body using good intention and careful point selection.  Next time you have an ache or pain, stress, menstrual cramps or any health ailment for that matter, consider trying something that has worked for thousands of years without dangerous side effects before you try something that has possibly hurt thousands for the last 10 years. 

For Chiropractic or Acupuncture treatment in the Newport Beach area contact Dr. Tara Pierce at (949)300-2028 to make an appointment.