Acupuncture is originated from China 2500 thousands years ago and is a part of traditional Chinese medicine. It spread to the Far East and Europe, then to America during the 19th century. Its theory is based on energy (Qi) flow through the body. Qi flow freely through body is fundamental for health. Interruption of this Qi flow is responsible for diseases. Acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin at particular points on the body to unblocks the blockage and restore balances of Qi flow in the body. As a result it achieves therapeutic effects.
The theory is based on the meridians. Scientific research on acupuncture provided evidence of the mechanisms of acupuncture. In 1950s Chinese government began to invest in research on acupuncture. The interest in acupuncture is increased not only for medical professionals all over the world, but also for researchers. They would like to know how the needles work. Since 70’s, acupuncture becomes more and more popular in US and European countries. In 1971, a report in the New York Times inspired American doctors to China to study analgesia effect of acupuncture. In 1990s there was a remarkable increase in acupuncture research. The publications of acupuncture research continue to increase. Acupuncture has received an enormous boost in the last few years. In 50 years the achievements of acupuncture research is extraordinary. The National Institute of Health consensus conference in 1997 recognised acupuncture (and by extension Traditional Chinese Medicine) as a legitimate branch of scientific medicine. Acupuncture seems very likely to be accepted and incorporated into Western medicine. Acupuncture becomes popular than ever.
Acupuncture increases local blood flow.
Regulating blood flow both centrally and peripherally are important in contributing mechanism of acupuncture.
Recently a study investigated the changes of local blood flow in response to acupuncture stimulation. In this study eight random controlled trials involved 205 participants were included. In most of the selected studies, acupuncture was performed at points located distal to the elbows and knees such as LI4, ST36, and PC6, whereas one study simultaneously used several acupoints on the extremities. In one study the GB21 acupoint on the posterior region of the shoulder was stimulated with an acupuncture needle. All eight studies selected for the present review observed acupuncture-induced changes in blood flow in the skin, whereas three studies observed changes in blood flow in the muscle. Four reported significant increases in blood flow following acupuncture compared with control, whereas one other study observed reductions in microcirculation immediately after acupuncture needling. The studies that assessed patients with either fibromyalgia or trapezius myalgia found significant increases in blood flow in the skin and muscle. Additionally, the degree and duration of increases in microcirculation varied depending on the condition of the subjects and the manipulation technique.
Another study about effect of acupuncture in peripheral tissue perfusion has been done on two healthy subjects. Acupuncture was performed on two acupoints (LI4 and SI3) which are in the hands three treatments within 1 week. Local blood perfusion on the hands was measured before and after acupuncture treatments. The result has shown that the blood perfusion rates of the hands were noticeably increased immediately after acupuncture at the first treatment in both cases. At the third treatment the increased blood perfusion was seen in one case, not the other one.
Hsiu H et al studied the microcirculatory blood flow response following acupuncture stimulation using beat to beat laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) which could provides important information on the circulatory regulatory activities. Changes in the arterial pulse transmission or the opening condition of arteriolar opening might change the fluctuation pattern of the microcirculatory blood supply. They measured LDF signals to study the microcirculatory blood flow response at the needled site particularly at Hegu LI4 acupuncture point) after acupuncture stimulation. They selected 29 male healthy volunteers to measure microcirculatory blood flow after acupuncture stimulation. The measurements were at three times: before acupuncture stimulation, immediately after acupuncture stimulation and about 1 hour after acupuncture stimulation. They found that acupuncture not only improves local blood supply and but also regulates microciculatory blood flow by altering microcirculatory blood supply parameters. Their findings could help to identify the mechanism underlying the effects of acupuncture stimulation.
Acupuncture increases blood perfusion around the acupoints.
Researchers are using modern techniques to study the mechanisms of acupuncture to explain the phenomenon from modern science aspect. Li XM et al studied influence of different acupuncture manipulations at Zusanli (ST36) on skin microcirculation blood perfusion in healthy subjects. They measured local blood perfusion at ST 36 acupuncture points after acupuncture stimulation at 1min, 5 min, 10, 15min, 20 min, 25 min and 30 min. They also compared blood perfusion levels of microcirculation around the acupoints among the different manipulation techniques. They found that microcirculation around the selected acupoint was significantly increased from 1-10 min following simple needle insertion, from 5 -30 min after uniform reinforcing-reducing manipulation, from 1-30 min after reinforcing manipulation, and from 1-25 min following reducing manipulation respectively. The reinforcing manipulation was superior to other techniques. From this study we can see acupuncture increases local blood perfusion in normal subjects. The reinforcing manipulation had better effect.
What is happening in the tissue around the tip of acupuncture needle?
When acupuncture needles are inserted into skin, biochemical reaction is occurring at the acupuncture points selected. Some research showed that histamine and adenosine which are effective biomolecules of acupuncture were produced at the acupuncture points. During the needling manipulation process, the needle is being wrapped by connective tissue which activates certain biomolecule changes at the specific points. These changes are greater at acupoint than at non acupoint leading to greater therapeutic effect at acupuncture points. For example, experiment showed that the analgesic effect at ST36 acupuncture point is greater than at non acupuncture point. The density of Mast cells is higher at acupoint for instance ST36 than non acupoint. Degranulation of Mast cells at acupoint occurs after acupuncture which linked to analgesia effect and inflammatory response. This local effect activates immune system and spreads the local effect to entire body.
Current scientific research in animal and human demonstrates that acupuncture can cause many biological responses. These responses happen locally which is closed to the acupuncture points and remotely in the brain mediated by sensory neurons. For example, Acupuncture analgesia and anesthesia the mechanism of endorphin release is clarified. The acupuncture‘s analgesia effect is widely accepted. Research on acupuncture analgesia has shown a substantial basis for acupuncture and promoted the development of neurophysiology. Acupuncture stimulation may also activate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland altering the secretion of the neurotransmitters and neurohormones which are important in endocrine system regulating hormone balance in the body.
Recent research suggested that local molecular and cellular changes occur at and around the location of the needled acupoint. For example, the activities of adenosine, which is a neuromodulator with antinociceptive properties, and the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway, which is involved in the local mechanisms associated with acupuncture, are altered following treatment and might mediate the varied effects of acupuncture, including analgesia. Additionally, it has also been suggested that the morphological changes induced by acupuncture in connective tissue and fibroblasts are involved in this process.
The body fluids carries acupuncture effective biomolecules
Morden research showed that body fluids carries acupuncture effective biomolecules.Cerebraospinal fluids (CSF) is a clear colorless bodily fluid found in the brain and spine. After electroacupuncture endorphins were increased in the CSF. This is correlated with acupuncture analgesia effects. Different frequencies of stimulation can affect the release of different neuropeptides. For example, low frequency electroacupuncture increases the contents of beta-endorphin and met-enkephalin in the CSF, whereas high frequency accelerated the release of dynorphin. Serum includes all of the proteins not used in blood clotting and all the electrolytes, antibodies, antigens, hormones, and any exogenous substances (such as drugs and microorganisms). Serum was also recognized as carrier of acupuncture effective biomolecules. For example acupuncture stimulation may produce many types of components of antiasthma in the serum.
A new research from China studied mechanism of acupuncture from biochemical aspect. High-throughput metabolomics which is the new techinique used for assessing endogenous metabolite within a biological system was applied in this study. In this study, one of the most commonly used acupuncture point ST36 (zusanli). ST-36 is a point of stomach meridian and often used to treat many conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders including stomach ache, abdominal pain and distension, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, dysentery, indigestion etc. Acupuncture use performed bilateral ST36 for 30 min, once a day for 14 days. Urine samples before acupuncture treatment and 14 days after acupuncture were analysed and compared. 53 specific metabolites relevant to ST36 were identified. These metabolites were significantly changed (3 decreased and 20 increased) after 14 days acupuncture treatment. Also five unique metabolic pathways were altered by acupuncture treatment. From this study, it can be seen that the mechanism of acupuncture in treating disorders could be involved in altering biochemical pathways.
Acupuncture stimulates brain network
There was a study about acupuncture stimulating brain functional network. This study was based on sample entropy of electroencephalograph (EEG) under magnetic stimulation at PC6 acupoint which is on your forearm and near your wrist. Magnetic stimulation at acupuncture point is a new method for studying the theory of acupuncture. It helps to investigate brain network and understand how brain works. This study was trying to provide evidence for the mechanism of acupuncture which is a part of traditional Chinese medicine. The magnetic stimulation of PC6 acupoint was performed and EEG signals were recorded. By analysing the results they found the brain network topology was changed after acupuncture at PC6 acupoint, the connection of the network is increased, the efficiency of information transmission is improved and the small-world proper is strengthened through stimulation the PC6 acupoint.
Acupuncture at different acupoints may alter brain activities in different area.
Recent acupuncture research study the effect of acupuncture on brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Wang W et al used electro-acupuncture to stimulate the cerebral activated areas. They compared the altered activation areas of the acupuncture point LI4 on the right hand with some non acupuncture points on the face. There were 6 people in the LI4 group and 5 in the facial nonacupoint group. MRI ws performed before and after acupuncture. They found that activation or deactivation was found the multiple cerebral areas in both groups. In the LI4 group, activation was found in the areas including medline nuclear group thalamus, left supra marginal gyrus, left supra temporal gyrus, right precuneous lobe, bilateral temporal pole, left precentral gyrus and left cerebellum; deactivation areas include bilateral hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, amygdale body area, rostral side/audal side of ingulate gyrus, prefrontal lobe and occipital lobe as well as left infratemporal gyrus. In the control group, the activation and deactivation areas were different from LI4. They concluded that the deactivation area by LI4 was a similar area distribution of pain area in the brain and closely related to the anatomic structure of limbic system which is possibly related to pain relief. Activation of left anterior gyrus by LI4 represents the movement of facial muscles and activation of cerebellum is possibly related to effect of LI4 in treating facial palsy and facial muscle spasm.
Fang JL et al compared the effects of electroacupuncture at acupoints ST36 and CV4 using MRI in 21 healthy volunteers. The similar deactivation effects in the anterior cingulated and medial prefrontal cortices were induced by acupuncture at ST36 or CV4 acupoint. The functional brain network was significantly changed after acupuncture. The instant postacupuncture effects were mainly found in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex and ventral anterior cingulated cortex in the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network and the effects were stronger at ST36 than that CV4.
Kim S et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2016) 9874207. doi: 10.1155/2016/9874207. Epub 2016 Jun 14.
Li XM et al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu (2013) 38:297-300
Wang W et al Chin J Integr Med (2007) 13:10-6
Fang JL et al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu (2012) 37:46-52
Yan G et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2013: 2013:429703
Guo L et al Biomed Mater Eng. 2013 23(0):S1115-S1121
Hsiu H et al Microvasc Res (2013) Jun 24
An Y et al Med Devices (Aucl) (2014) 7:17-21
Welcome to my blog
Acupuncture specialist for Fertility, Facial rejuvenation, Pain relief.
Based at Kensington Central London.Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine over 20 years ago in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Many year research and clinical experiences
Doctor who is passionate about acupuncture
I love what I do, I am good at it and I am always there for my patients. If you come and see me, you will know why I am standing out.
This blog is to introduce latest development and research of acupuncture and offer a chance of awareness of more treatment options for your condition. The blog is for information purpose only.
- My specialised areas include fertility for women and men, facial rejuvenation, acne, various pain conditions, chronic fatigue and hormone regulation with acupuncture treatment.
Practice contact for appointments and addresses
Kensington: for appointments (Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Thursdays) at Anamaya center Kensington please call at 02030110355 or email at email@example.com
Address: 1 Adam and Eve Mews, Kensington, London W8 6UG
2 min walk from High Street Kensington underground stationHarley Street: for appointments (Wednesdays) at Harley Street please call at 02076368845 or email at firstname.lastname@example.orgAddressSuite 3 Harmont House20 Harley Street, London W1G 9PH5 min walk from Oxford Circus underground stationMy background: I became a qualified medical doctor in Western medicine 20 years ago in China and was well trained in Western medicine together with Chinese medicine in the best Medical University in Beijing, China. Also I was trained with Dr Zheren Xuan--famous orthopedics expert and founder of soft tissue surgery in China. I am dedicated to treat patients with acupuncture and am recognized as one of the world leading acupuncture specialists.
I obtained a PhD degree in the University of Leeds in the UK.
I had post doctoral training and worked as a senior researcher in St George's hospital, London, UK.
I had frequently presented my research findings in the top international conferences in the field.
I have many publications including ebooks and articles.
I have many year clinical experiences. Over the years of practicing, I have developed unique treatment approaches for infertility, skin aging, acne, vulvodynia, neck pain, headache, migraine, shoulder pain, back pain, fatigue and hot flushes etc to achieve best treatment results. My devotion and skills are highly praised by my patients.
- My books--Know your ovary to get pregnant
- ----------------Get pregnant fast naturally
- ----------------Facial Aging, Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture
- ---------------Acne treatment with acupuncture
- ---------------Vulvodynia, is vulval pain in your mind?
- ---------------Know your fallopian tubes and uterus to get pregnant
- ---------------Know sperm to boost male fertility
- ---------------Headaches, Neck pain and Shoulder pain