The history of acupuncture dates back at least 2,000 years. In the tradition of Eastern medicine, acupuncture is described as a form of healing which causes the movement of Qi (energy) in channels called meridians. What is Qi? It is a vital substance; the combination of the air we breath the food we eat and movement. Some describe it as an electromechanical force, some describe it as life’s energy, others the essence of life. In Einstein’s formula E=mc 2, there is a relationship between energy and matter. It is the blockage of Qi, deficiency of Qi or imbalances, that are responsible for illness. Unblocking the Qi, balancing either Qi, or other vital substances relieves the pain or corrects the source of the disease or discomfort.
How do we access this energy, but through acupuncture points. Western scientist’S have tried to define the meridians and acupuncture points. Interestingly, in one study there was a 71% correlation between trigger points, motor points in muscles and acupuncture points. Biopsies at acupuncture sites show a great collection of blood vessels of nerves at these sites. When radioactive tagged dye is injected in an acupuncture points it follows the trajectory in the limbs of the meridians described over thousands of years. Very good research over the last 20 years HAS BEEN DONE on the release of neuropeptides with acupuncture. THIS RESEARCH, by Bruce Pomeranz Ph.D. and Gabriel Stux, MD., FOURND THAT it apparently causes the release of endorphins. THERE ARE 16 different kinds of experimental models to explain their effect IN THE treatment of pain.
There is also evidence that acupuncture causes the release of beta endorphins in the CSF, Rossier J, Nature (1977). Pituitary beta endorphin and ACTH are released on an equimolar basis into the circulation. The ACTH then goes to the adrenal cortex where cortisol is then released into the blood. This may explain why acupuncture also helps with inflammation and why it is so useful in the treatment of Asthma. There have also been experiments on the involvement of other neuropeptides monoamines and serotonin and norepinephrine to explain the effects of acupuncture. Functional MRI’s have shown the correlation of acupuncture points turning off pain pathways in the brain and classical points having relationship to particular brain centers.
New Findings of the Correlation Between Acupoints and Corresponding Brain Cortices Using functional MRI Cho AH, Chung, Jones JP Nalt Acad Sci USA 1998;95:2670-2673.