Acupuncture and Immunity


The world has literally been brought to it’s knees by the corona virus. There is no need for me to go into the details about the virus―I’m sure you are in “corona overload.” What I do want to do is explain how acupuncture may be of benefit to your health by super charging your immune system.

Acupuncture works by stimulating various points on the body, which have direct affects on the brain. The nervous system is the master controller of the body and the brain rules the nervous system.

Here’s how acupuncture jump starts immunity. The immune system is regulated by chemical messengers known as cytokines. These cytokines manage inflammation. Inflammation is a wonderful weapon when it comes to fighting infections. The body uses inflammation to “burn out” the bugs. Problems occur when that inflammation gets out of control. For example, the increased mortality of the corona virus appears to be connected with what is known as a “cytokine storm” that over heats the inflammatory process.

Think of cytokines like fire in a fireplace. They provide benefit by heating the house. However, if some of the flaming logs rolled out of the fireplace and caught the room on fire, that would be similar to what happens during a cytokine storm.

Studies have shown that acupuncture affects a variety of cytokines and therefore modifies inflammation. Along with this benefit, acupuncture modulates immune cell activation. These cells act like your own personal army, diligently searching out and destroying invaders.

Another added benefit of acupuncture is stress relief. Traditional Chinese Medicine talks about balance of yin and yang. Yin is linked to things like cold, dark, a wet; yang is linked to warm, light, and dry. Too much or too little of either creates imbalance, eventually leading to dysfunction and disease. This is a bit foreign to most Western health professionals. In my opinion, it’s simply a language issue. While Eastern Medicine describes yin and yang, Western Medicine calls it the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is split between the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The SNS is fight or flight while the PNS is rest and digest. One is not better than the other. Each is essential for optimal health. The key is BALANCE.

Most of us live in SNS overload, stressed and depressed. Because acupuncture balances the nervous system, it activates the PNS while turning down the SNS, allowing your body to rest and recover. Stress increases also increases cortisol levels (known as the stress hormone) which also blunts the immune system. By stimulating the PNS we see both subjective (feeling more relaxed) and objective (decreased cortisol levels) improvements regarding stress.

If you are looking to naturally boost your immune system, acupuncture provides an excellent addition to your arsenal.

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