How does acupuncture work?
Updated: Dec 31, 2022
Acupuncture uses fine stainless steel needles inserted into specific parts of the body to elicit a cascade of events in the body. It stimulates peripheral nerve receptors which send signals to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) which then has a wide range effect of modulating the release of neurotransmitters, hormones, blood supply and pain signals. This has the effect of influencing organ systems and how the body functions. When used locally acupuncture stimulates a local inflammatory response which increases blood flow and therefore the body’s own natural healing cascade to the surrounding area (this is how it can relieve pain, promote healing and the concept of cosmetic acupuncture as it stimulates collagen and elastin fibres to tighten and plump the skin).
Acupuncture when used in certain areas of muscle locations can relax tightness and restore how the muscle contracts and relaxes back to its normal state (similar to a dry needling concept, but not to be confused with dry needling!). Most acupuncture points are found between the structures of the body in the fascia and connective tissue. Connective tissue and fascia is what holds the various cells, organs and vessels of our body together.
Therefore, through these pathways, acupuncture influences digestion, stress/tension, metabolism, blood flow, muscle function, pain modulation, emotions and the immune system. It has a modulating effect where it stimulates the body to initiate its own healing response to restore balance.
If you're wondering if acupuncture can help you, feel free to get in touch.
If you want a great website for more information (where this diagrams are from), check out https://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org