How Acupuncture Reduces Inflammation

Has acupuncture or dry needling reduced your pain? A cool new study shows how acupuncture reduces inflammation. Read on to learn more!
Pelvic Floored Logo

“Have You Tried Acupuncture?”

Has anyone ever asked you that??

“Does it work?” You might ask….

“HOW does it work?” is actually a better question…and in the past decade, but especially the past few years, researchers are actually discovering how acupuncture reduces inflammation. Do you want to learn more?

How acupuncture reduces inflammation

Young woman getting acupuncture. A manicured hand is touching one of many needles.
How acupuncture reduces inflammation and pain is being researched,
with interesting findings!!

As published in the 2022 edition of Nature, Liu et al recently published an article that isolated a specific group of neurons in the back limbs that must be present for acupuncture to trigger a systemic anti-inflammatory response.

In layman’s terms, the takeaway is that if we are seeking acupuncture for global pain relief, treatments to our back legs will work, but treatments to our tummy won’t.

Acupuncture can stop a Cytokine Storm

Torres-Rosas R, et al in 2014 demonstrated that electroacupuncture could not only reduce pain, but could also reduce susceptibility to sepsis, and prevent a so-called “cytokine storm” via anti-inflammatory Signal Pathways.

That’s a big deal.

What does that mean in layman’s terms?

That means that if you haven’t tried acupuncture, and your financial and physical situation allows you to try it, that you should consider trying it, or at least talk to your primary medical provider about it.

There is not scientific evidence that shows that acupuncture (especially that to the lower legs) can cause a body-wide anti-inflammatory reaction, with some studies showing it reduces likelihood of sepsis and others showing a response strong enough to inhibit a cytokine storm.

Are their side effects to be concerned of?

Nothing is without any side effects, and side effects of acupuncture could include the following (as well as others): pain, nausea, rash, infection, bruising… so please discuss this with your physician.

Contraindications of acupuncture?

Again, it may vary depending on personal situation. Discuss the potential risks, benefits and potential appropriateness of acupuncture with your own personal physician to see if it is for you!

The Geeky Stuff. References, etc…

Study that identifies the way that acupuncture reduces inflammation: Liu S, Wang Z, Su Y, Qi L, Yang W, Fu M, Jing X, Wang Y, Ma Q. A neuroanatomical basis for electroacupuncture to drive the vagal-adrenal axis. Nature. 2021 Oct;598(7882):641-645. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04001-4. Epub 2021 Oct 13. Erratum in: Nature. 2022 Jan;601(7893):E9. PMID: 34646018; PMCID: PMC9178665.

Connections between somatic tissues and internal organs may be explained via somato-autonomic reflexes.  Ma, Q. Somato–autonomic reflexes of acupuncture. Med. Acupunct. 32, 362–366 (2020).

Acupuncture can improve immune response in sepsis: Pan, W. X., Fan, A. Y., Chen, S. & Alemi, S. F. Acupuncture modulates immunity in sepsis: toward a science-based protocol. Auton. Neurosci. 232, 102793 (2021).

How acupuncture can interfere with a cytokine storm: Torres-Rosas R, Yehia G, Peña G, Mishra P, del Rocio Thompson-Bonilla M, Moreno-Eutimio MA, Arriaga-Pizano LA, Isibasi A, Ulloa L. Dopamine mediates vagal modulation of the immune system by electroacupuncture. Nat Med. 2014 Mar;20(3):291-5. doi: 10.1038/nm.3479. Epub 2014 Feb 23. PMID: 24562381; PMCID: PMC3949155.

Thanks for Reading!

I hope you learned more about how acupuncture reduces inflammation from this post. And while this post was about acupuncture, if you are a human, you have a pelvis, and 80% of you will have a pelvic floor dysfunction that I (or another pelvic PT) can likely help you with!

Check out my Online Courses and receive World Class Education and Exercise Training for a variety of Pelvic Health Conditions by Dr. Kelly, one of only 72 Doctors of Physical Therapy who are DOUBLE Board Certified Specialists in Orthopedics AND Pelvic Health, in the United States!!

World Class Training, Streamable from the comfort and privacy of your own home, at a fraction of the cost of in-person Pelvic PT care!

What other motivation do you need? Did I mention that for every 4 courses I sell, I will donate one to a person in need, through my People Before Profits Program. I am so proud of this. By buying my program you are not only helping yourself (or your loved one), but also someone in need.

If buying my programs isn’t in the cards right now, no worries! Please join my mailing list to be kept up to date on other free tips for your best pelvic health! My AMAZING blog posts are filled with practical tips for improving your pelvic (and overall) health prenatally, postpartum and beyond! Mailing list subscribers also get exclusive discounts to Pelvic Floored products, and access to subscriber only events!  Don’t miss out!  Sign up Today

Thanks for reading!

xoxo, Dr. Kelly

Tell your friends kids and parent graphic

Our mission is to provide world-class online courses that reduce geographical, psychosocial, & financial barriers to accessing pelvic health information and care.

So we give a ton of great information away for FREE! Sign up for our newsletter for tips and tricks for your best pelvic health!