How acupuncture works

Acupuncture is a time-tested form of medical treatment which involves mechanical stimulation of skin and underlying tissues at specific points. Acupuncture and associated therapies such as acupressure, cupping, scraping (guasha) and moxibustion have both local and systemic effects. This mechanical stimulation creates physical and chemical changes: blood and lymph circulation increases, local anti-inflammatory substances are released, and systemically, endocrine, immune and nervous systems are regulated. Acupuncture, through stimulation of peripheral nerves, rebalances the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and relax) nervous systems. It benefits heart rate variability, an important index of health and longevity, and a metric of the nervous system balance.
These local and systemic effects explain why acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat pain and internal organ disorders. The basic premise of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that the body can self-heal and self-regulate if adequate conditions are created. Acupuncture and related treatments help stimulate these built-in self-regulation mechanisms.

Immediate effects of acupuncture

  • Sedation
  • Relaxation
  • Improved circulation
  • Pain relief