Four Science Backed Ways Acupuncture Makes You Feel Better

acupuncture for pain

Four Science Backed Ways Acupuncture Makes You Feel Better

The responses to acupuncture are multifactorial - physiological and psychological factors interplay in a complex manner. The biopsychosocial model provides a practical framework for investigating the complex interplay between acupuncture and clinical outcomes.

Is Acupuncture a Placebo?

For those who are unfamiliar with the literature, it may be easy to assume that acupuncture is just a placebo. It is clear that the placebo response is a big part of why patients feel better, but it is also a within the realm of reasons that patients have a complex biopsychosocial response to acupuncture that INCLUDES but is not LIMITED to placebo.

Evidence Based Acupuncture: is there such a thing?

Evidence based acupuncture is an approach grounded in neuroscience that is based upon a theory that is inline current scientific understanding of how the body works (White 2009). Using occam's razor the insertion of an acupuncture needle is a form of novel stimuli, that functions by sending anti-nociceptive input to the neuroimmune system. Stimulating endogenous opioid release, purinergic signaling and modulation of the endocannabinoid system.

Preferential sites for acupuncture stimulation are associated with areas rich in specialized sensory receptors such as muscle spindles, Golgi tendon organs, ligament receptors, Paciniform and Ruffini’s receptors (joint capsules), deep pressure endings (within muscle belly), and free nerve endings (muscle and fascia). 

A Biopsychosocial Approach to Acupuncture

Based off the biopsychosocial model, all of these areas are highly innervated and as a result there are a number of physiological responses that help modulate the experience of pain. An observed favorable outcome may be explained by a number of overlapping mechanism in the periphery, spinal cord, and brain including represented in the image below.

More to Explore

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