The body’s reactions to acupuncture

Acupuncture is an extremely complex medical therapy. It consists of many methods of puncture and types of needles, detailed diagnostics and the possibility of combining with herbal medicine or acupressure. The experience, knowledge and skill of the doctor also make acupuncture an alternative and more and more popular method of treatment. But how does it work? How exactly does the body react to stimulation with needles?

The body’s reactions can be divided into several categories. The first are local reactions, which consist in increasing the blood supply and the temperature at the injection site. The insertion of the needle also causes chemical and bioelectric changes near the stimulation site. In the irritated tissue, the capacity of blood vessels increases, and active biochemical compounds are also released. The metal needle also causes microelectric phenomena, electrolysis and electrophase. Punctures also stimulate the nerve fibers.

When pain is caused by a disease that causes the muscles to tighten and cramp, acupuncture helps relieve it by irritating the skin which leads to relaxation. Stimulation of the skin with punctures may stop the flow of pain impulses from the diseased organ, and thus lead to its extinction. Dealing with pain in this way is not just a temporary solution. The constant muscle tension caused by the disease leads to a number of other unpleasant ailments. Acupuncture permanently relaxes the muscles, prevents their secondary cramps, improves their blood supply and heals any inflammation. Gently pricking the skin helps to block what is known as nociceptive impulses, which are responsible for the sensation of pain.

Another type are general reactions that are related to the patient’s mental sphere, the nervous and endocrine systems. The puncture impulses pass through the thalamus, which connects and binds different kinds of sensation. It is possible that acupuncture stimulates the thalamus, which stimulates the vegetative and sympathetic system.

Reactions and the role of needles in acupuncture

The needles activate various types of receptors, including those responsible for pain. During punctures, they send impulses to the brain to help the person assess the situation and take action. Their task is to evoke an adequate response to pain, such as escape or defense. Depending on the circumstances, a person will react and feel differently. It will also be accompanied by appropriate emotions. However, when the patient accepts the situation, because he knows that the therapy will ultimately bring him relief, his pain threshold will increase. Punctures can also distract the patient and reduce e.g. his nervousness.

Acupuncture works on a patient’s psyche similar to hypnosis. The doctor describes to the patient the course of the procedure and the feelings he may experience, which helps the patient to comply with the suggestion. This technique is also suitable for the patient. Its detailed diagnostics and individual patient care satisfy the needs of modern people, who often fail ordinary health care. Acupuncture also focuses on the person in a holistic way, without referring him to separate specialists. One doctor is able to help the patient overcome any ailment. It gives psychological comfort, which is extremely important in the treatment process.

Based on: A. Borzęcki, Akupunktura.

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