How does acupuncture work?

First of all: Nobody knows how acupuncture works!


We know that Chinese medicine correlate very well with modern anatomical and physiological knowledge. Acupuncture is a technique where you stimulate the peripheral nervous system with needles.

Normally we say that acupuncture have three effects:

  1. Relieves pain.
  2. Reduces inflammation.
  3. Restores homeostasis.


Perhaps the most important effect here is the effect to restore homeostasis. Homeostasis is the body’s ability to regulate and maintain balance. Remember that all diseases involve a disturbance of homeostasis. At the same time most diseases includes a component of pain and inflammation.


The effect is some way are connected to the nerves. If the nerves are destroyed in some way acupuncture will not work. That is why all acupuncture meridians and their acupuncture points are better seen in relation to nerves and their paths.


Researchers have discovered multiple effect mechanisms:

  • Promotes the blood flow and vasodilation
    • To heal we need blood
      • Blood includes nutrients, oxygen, hormones, and other substances that work well for the immune system, pain and inflammation.
    • A reduced blood flow gives diseases
    • Age gives a reduced blood flow


  • Activates healing mechanisms
    • Create micro-traumas
      • Makes the body spontaneously heal tissue
        • Through activation of nervous, immune and endocrine system
      • When healing micro-trauma, old injuries is also cured


  • Painkiller
    • Needles stimulates secretion of natural pain killers
    • Endorphins, adrenaline and enkephalines
      • More effective than morphine


  • Alters perception of chronic pain
    • Descending control normalization
      • Works through serotogenic nervous system


  • Relax muscles
    • Releases pressure on joints and nerves
    • Promotes the blood flow


  • Reduces stress
    • Release more oxytocin
      • Regulates the parasympathetic nervous system
        • The calm part of the nervous system
        • Reduces inflammations and autoimmune diseases.


Still we do not know exactly how acupuncture works, but that does not mean that we are totally blind!

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