Acupuncture Produces Anti-inflammatory Responses

Acupuncture Produces Anti-inflammatory Responses

Researchers discover anti-inflammatory effects stimulated by acupuncture.

Anti-inflammatory biochemical responses are stimulated by the application of acupuncture. As a result, the body decreases swelling associated with arthritis. In addition, acupuncture prevents postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions. The research is confirmed across several studies including laboratory investigations.

A laboratory study reveals that the anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture involve the downregulation of proinflammatory cellular biochemicals. In a controlled experiment, rheumatoid arthritis rats were divided into three groups. Group A did not receive medical treatment. Group B received electroacupuncture and group C received prednisolone acetate via intragastric infusion. Prednisolone acetate is a corticosteroid medication. Acupuncture successfully reduced physical inflammation and downregulated proinflammatory biochemicals.

The non-treatment group had elevated levels of proinflammatory biochemicals and significant increases in physical inflammation. The acupuncture and prednisolone acetate groups demonstrated significantly lower levels of proinflammatory biochemicals in the bloodstream in addition to less physical inflammation measured at the ankles. Acupuncture was applied to acupoints Zusanli (ST36) and Kunlun (BL60) for thirty minutes, once per day, for ten days. Let’s take a look at the results.

Acupuncture and prednisolone acetate significantly downregulated serum TNF-α, IL-1β, and ICAM-1 in the rheumatoid arthritis model rats. Measurements taken at the ankles demonstrated significant reductions in swelling determined by the diameter of the ankles. The researchers conclude, “EA [electroacupuncture] intervention is effective in relieving RA [rheumatoid arthritis] rats’ inflammatory reactions by down-regulating the levels of serum TNF-α, IL-1β and ICAM-1.”

TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor alpha) is a cell signaling protein active in systemic inflammation. It is a cytokine comprising one of the biochemicals involved in acute phase reactions and is primarily produced by macrophages. TNF-α is implicated in the pathogenesis of severe infectious diseases including cerebral malaria. IL-1β (interleukin 1 beta) is a cytokine that contributes to inflammatory pain hypersensitivity. ICAM-1 (intercellular adhesion molecule 1) is exploited by rhinovirus as a receptor and produces proinflammatory effects including hypersensitivity reactions.

The research of Ouyang et al. is consistent with the biochemical findings demonstrating that acupuncture stimulates an anti-inflammatory biochemical cascade. Ouyang et al. note that electroacupuncture “effectively lower[s] the contents of TNF-α and VEGF in peripheral blood and joint synovia to improve the internal environment for genesis and development of RA [rheumatoid arthritis], so as to enhance the clinical therapeutic effectiveness.” The researchers demonstrated that both manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture significantly reduce both serum and synovial joint levels of TNF-a and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) for human patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

The research of Du et al. is consistent with these findings. Du et al. note that electroacupuncture at acupoint ST36 (Zusanli) “reduced TNF-α and VEGF levels in adhesive tissue homogenates 7 d[ays] after surgery….” In addition, “sham acupuncture had no suppressive effects on TNF-α and VEGF levels.” Du et al. add that electroacupuncture prevents postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions and electroacupuncture at “ST36 alleviated the adhesion formation, with both of macroscopic and histopathologic adhesion scores significantly lower than” the sham acupuncture group.

The research presented here demonstrates the biochemical basis by which acupuncture exerts anti-inflammatory effects. The research indicates that acupuncture is beneficial to patients with rheumatoid arthritis and those recovering from abdominal surgery. Given the scientific evidence, additional research is warranted.

References:
Zhang, R., L. H. Guo, Y. Yin, T. W. Chen, and W. Z. Ma. “Effect of Electroacupuncture on Serum TNF-α, IL-1β and Intercellular adhesion molecule 1 Levels in Rheumatoid Arthritis Rats.” Zhen ci yan jiu= Acupuncture research/[Zhongguo yi xue ke xue yuan Yi xue qing bao yan jiu suo bian ji] 41, no. 1 (2016): 51.

McGuire, William, Adrian VS Hill, Catherine EM Allsopp, Brian M. Greenwood, and Dominic Kwiatkowski. “Variation in the TNF-α promoter region associated with susceptibility to cerebral malaria.” (1994): 508-511.

Ouyang, Ba-si; Gao, Jie; Che, Jian-li; Zhang, Yin; Li, Jun; Yang, Hai-zhou; Hu, Tian-yan; Yang, Man; Wu, Yuan-jian; Ji, Ling-ling. Effect of electro-acupuncture on tumor necrosis factor-α and vascular endothelial growth factor in peripheral blood and joint synovia of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2011-07-01. Chinese Association of Traditional and Western Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. 672-0415, 505- 509 v17 issue 7.

Du, Ming-Hua, Hong-Min Luo, Yi-Jun Tian, Li-Jian Zhang, Zeng-Kai Zhao, Yi Lv, Rui-Jiang Xu, and Sen Hu. “Electroacupuncture ST36 prevents postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions formation.” Journal of Surgical Research 195, no. 1 (2015): 89-98.

http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1634-acupuncture-produces-anti-inflammatory-responses

Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition affecting an estimated 5.8 million Americans.  Symptoms include but are not limited to chronic, widespread, and severe muscle pain; insomnia; fatigue; headaches; sensitivity to light, noise, and smells; dizziness; heart palpitations; skin rashes; and depression.  It primarily affects women between the ages of 35-50. 

 

There are no lab tests to confirm a fibromyalgia diagnosis, because it does not present evidence of damage to muscle and tissue.  The generalized body pain and stiffness, along with severe fatigue, must last for at least three months for an official western diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Additionally, a test palpating 18 points is often used as a diagnostic tool.  When at least 11 out of 18 points have pain or tenderness, it suggests fibromyalgia. 

Western medicine often treats fibromyalgia with medications for depression and seep, and NSAIDs for pain. 

Unfortunately, these medicines have adverse side effects, which can mimic fibromyalgia symptoms, when used for prolonged periods. These include headaches, nervousness, dizziness, fatigue, and sleeplessness.  Additionally, the medications treat the symptoms as opposed to the underlying causes of fibromyalgia. 

At Affinity Acupuncture, we have had many clients respond well to acupuncture treatments for fibromyalgia. 

The insertion of very fine, sterile needles into specific points on the body promotes the body’s response to heal itself. 

Increased and redirected blood flow loosens tight muscles, relieves pain and tension, and flushes out inflammation.

It also triggers certain hormones which promote sleep and relaxation, calm the mind and relieve stress.

While acupuncture can be effective, it is not an immediate cure.  Most people see improvement after two or three weekly treatments, including increased energy and reduction of pain, insomnia, and depression. 

Because every fibromyalgia sufferer experiences different symptoms, treatments are customized to the individual’s needs.  Typically, three to 10 treatments are required depending on the severity of the condition, and the individual’s personal response to treatment.  Over time, treatments are extended into a maintenance schedule.  Specific diets and herbal formulas may also be recommended. 

If you or someone you love is living with fibromyalgia, acupuncture may be a highly effective treatment.  Call 615-939-2787 to learn more.