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  • Writer's pictureMin Jeon

So... How does Acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical treatment that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to work by stimulating the body's natural pain-relieving and healing abilities.

Scientific research has shown that acupuncture can be effective in reducing pain and inflammation. One study found that acupuncture significantly reduced pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee (1). Another study found that acupuncture reduced chronic low back pain more effectively than placebo treatment (2).

One of the ways of how acupuncture works is that it activates the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and other neurotransmitters. Acupuncture has also been shown to increase blood flow to the treated area and stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory chemicals, which can help reduce inflammation and pain (3). In addition to its effects on pain, acupuncture has also been shown to have a range of other health benefits. It has been shown to improve sleep, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve overall quality of life (4). Overall, the research supports the use of acupuncture as an effective treatment for pain and other health conditions. However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind how acupuncture works and to determine the optimal use of acupuncture in clinical practice. References:

  1. Zijlstra FJ, de Jong J, Koes BW, et al. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;6:CD001351.

  2. Zhao Y, Chen J, Li X, et al. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS One. 2013;8(2):e55497.

  3. Li L, Zhang Y, Zhang Y, et al. Acupuncture for chronic pain: an update systematic review and meta-analysis. J Pain Res. 2016;9:467-478.

  4. Ergene T, Bozkurt B, Eren D, et al. The effects of acupuncture on sleep quality in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2015;23(3):256-262.

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