Biochemical Effects of Acupuncture

Many people are curious about just how and why acupuncture works.  It helps for diverse symptoms, ranging from pain relief to depression, digestive disorders, urinary incontinence, fertility, PMS, and immune system support.  Scientists are finding that there are several different mechanisms at play that produce the positive results.  Here is a list of some of the physiological effects that acupuncture has on the body.

acupuncture for arthritis

Acupuncture Effects

Analgesic Effect

  • Helps control/eliminate pain (acute and chronic)
  • Helps the patient deal with the pain:  depression, fatigue, sleep disorders


  • Clears heat, reduces swelling, promotes blood circulations, relieves pain, restores physical function
  • both local anti-inflammatory effects by reducing levels of histamine and prostaglandins as well as systemic effect of increasing the release of anti-inflammatory adrenocortical steroids

Biochemical interactions

  • Release of endorphins or enkephalins
  • Elevates serotonin levels (the happiness neurotransmitter)
  • Regulates cortisol levels
    – increases it when needed for anti-inflammatory effect
    – decrease it when elevated in chronic stress
  • Significant lowering of brain norepinephrine content by stimulating increased utilization


  • Promotes tissue regeneration
  • Bone fracture healing

Gastrointestinal Regulation

  • Increases gastric acid production in cases of hyposecretion
  • Decreases gastric acid production in conditions of hypersecretion
  • Regulates intestinal peristalsis

Other Effects

  • Alters hemodynamics such as blood pressure and cardiac output
  • Anti-shock mechanisms – allergic shock
  • Modify body or blood chemistry


Let acupuncture help you meet your health care goals.  Contact Sandra Broberg and Body in Balance Acupuncture today to schedule an appointment.

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