• Meghan Miller, LAc

How Acupuncture Changes Your Brain

Many have wondered how acupuncture - a traditional form of Chinese medicine using fine needles work. Acupuncture has been around for at least two thousand years, thin needles are inserted in different meridians and acupuncture points to stimulate homeostasis and optimal functioning of the body. So how does acupuncture treat a variety of health conditions including pain, stress, digestion and energy? It is because acupuncture changes your brain chemistry, and function that controls our body.


Acupuncture stimulates neuropeptide release which blocks pain signals

Our brain function is coordinated by neurotransmitters and neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are specifically used to control pain. Studies have shown that acupuncture or electrical stimulation at certain parts of the body releases neuropeptides to allow the body to communicate with our central nervous system to allow for the body to self heal and for maximum pain relief by blocking pain signals in the brain and spinal chord.


Acupuncture produces endorphins from our brain for overall mood

Endorphins are a group of hormones known to be the brain’s natural painkiller that helps relieve pain. In addition to creating an analgesic effect, acupuncture also affects the part of the brain that controls the increase serotonin which helps with depression, anxiety, digestion and immunity.


Acupuncture improves blood circulation

When an acupuncture needle is inserted into the body, it creates a vasodilating effect that increases blood circulation to allow nutrients in our body to flow to achy and injured muscles so it can self heal. Furthermore as blood vessel relaxes it also helps lower high blood pressure.


Acupuncture clinically affects autonomic nerve related issues

Research from Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine have stated that acupuncture can support a variety of autonomic nerve related disorders due to its effects on the neurotransmitter in our brain. Some of the clinical application of acupuncture includes cardiovascular diseases, PCOS, fertility and mood disorders.


Acupuncture activates the parasympathetic nervous system

In modern day society we often experience chronic stress where our sympathetic nervous system is activated into fight or flight mode - this leads to increased heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol. Acupuncture helps the body and central nervous system to slow down, activates the parasympathetic system and allow our body to enter rest and digest mode.

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