Acuhelp Acupuncture Clinic

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Biomedical Mechanisms of Acupuncture


(NIH, 1997): "Many studies in animals and humans have demonstrated that acupuncture can cause
multiple biological responses. These responses can occur locally, i.e., at or close to the site of application,
or at a distance, mediated mainly by sensory neurons to many structures within the central nervous
system. This can lead to activation of pathways affecting various physiological systems in the brain as
well as in the periphery. A focus of attention has been the role of endogenous opioids in acupuncture
analgesia. Considerable evidence supports the claim that opioid peptides are released during acupuncture and that the analgesic effects of acupuncture are at least partially explained by their actions. That opioid antagonists such as naloxone reverse the analgesic effects of acupuncture further strengthens this hypothesis. Stimulation by acupuncture may also


  1. “activate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, resulting in a broad spectrum of systemic effects.
  2. “Alteration in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones and changes in the regulation of blood flow, both centrally and peripherally, have been documented.
  3. “There is also evidence of alterations in immune functions produced by acupuncture. Which of these and other physiological changes mediate clinical effects is at present unclear.


"Findings from basic research have begun to elucidate the mechanisms of action of acupuncture, including the release of opioids and other peptides in the central nervous system and the periphery and changes in neuroendocrine function. Although much needs to be accomplished, the emergence of plausible mechanisms for the therapeutic effects of acupuncture is encouraging." One of the studies cited by the NIH was conducted by Abass Alavi, M.D., chief of nuclear medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, who showed that acupuncture affects the flow of blood in the brain. He used SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) to view the brains of four people with pain and five pain-free people who served as the control group. Dr. Alavi found that after acupuncture needles were inserted, all of the patients had increased blood flow to the thalamus, the area of the brain that relays pain and other sensory messages. Because the brains of the pain - free group showed the same reactions as those with pain, the changes in blood flow couldn't be attributed to placebo. Continue to read click here page 5.



Acupuncture Research for M.D.’s
From The Pulse of Oriental Medicin
e, January 27, 2003 by  Brian Benjamin Carter

Acupuncture and Sleep


Acupuncture and sleep. Acupuncture is most effective at home treatment. Ancient Chinese emperors acupuncturists treated in their bedroom,  carrying out sessions not only during the day but at night, when the night impact on the meridian gives the maximum effect. Modern folk doctors East Asia for the treatment of patients is required to come home. This is explained by the fact that immediately after acupuncture treatment, a patient wants to sleep. This is a normal reaction, which suggests positive regenerative processes within the body of the patient. Therefore, in order to increase the effectiveness of treatment, patients have to recommend one hour of sleep immediately after the procedure.

In addition, if the acupuncturist treats disease of the spine (sciatica, low back pain) then immediately after acupuncture treatment effect of relaxation of muscles and ligaments of the spine occurs. Recommended after the session of acupuncture, sciatica patient has to have for 1-2 hours of bed rest to reduce the "load bearing" on the spine. Finding a patient in an upright position increases the load on the spine, because of its own weight. Therefore, the ideal conditions for the treatment of sciatica is bed rest and performing procedures at 9-11pm, because immediately after treatment, the patient falls asleep until morning.

In the day of acupuncture treatment, it was recommended to a patient to have a sleep at least 10 hours. Long sleep significantly improves the replacement of old, inflamed tissues to new healthy tissue. With prolonged sleep resting central nervous system and it strengthens the immune system and protein synthesis in the liver needed for tissue regeneration.


Molostov V.D." Acupuncture and Acupressure"