Acupuncture: how it works and what is its role in the brain system.

Acupuncture and the Brain System

The acupuncture technique is developed using needles that, inserted into points with nerve endings, are able to promote pain relief. These points are directly linked to various regions of the brain and nervous system.

When the needles are applied by the body there is the stimulation of various functions of the body, which, consequently, the release of substances – neurotransmitters, responsible for the analgesic, anti-inflammatory and relaxing effect.

The role of airborne neurotransmitters in acupuncture
All studies that involve neurochemical responses to acupuncture provide evidence of the biological effects that can help to understand how the technique can be used in the treatment of diseases.

Furthermore, these results suggest that acupuncture can reverse and correct malfunctions in the body through direct activation of the brain, hopefully for the biochemical balance of the central nervous system and regulating neurotransmitters that control health.

Serotonin, a chemical substance, is released when acupuncture is performed causing its regulation in the brain, since electroacupuncture performs an induced decrease through the retention of serotonin levels in the nucleus accumbens.

Another substance that plays an important role is dopamine. When acupuncture is performed, as it is considered a mediating substance, there is a normalization of dopamine release through serotonin neurons in the hypothalamus.

Electroacupuncture and the brain system
Verifying the effect of electroacupuncture on the system of chemical compounds has been the subject of recent research.

These animal studies provide evidence that low-frequency electroacupuncture can activate enkephalinergic neurons and beta-endorphins in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus.

It seems reasonable to propose that electroacupuncture may help increase dopamine release, and there is also important neurochemical evidence that acupuncture treatment directly interferes with the mesolimbic dopamine system.

Acupuncture treatment at specific Shenmen points (HT7) significantly prevented the decrease in extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens.

On the other hand, a behavioral study indicated that high-frequency electroacupuncture suppressed the naloxone-induced morphine withdrawal syndrome and this effect was reversed in pretreatment with dynorphin A antagonist or κ-receptor antibody.

Previously reviewed neuropharmacological data provide evidence for the action of endogenous opioid peptides in acupuncture analgesia.

The role of acupuncture in pain relief

When an acupuncture needle is inserted into a traditional acupuncture point, certain nerve fibers are stimulated, generating nerve impulses that are sent to the spinal cord. In this phase, chondrogenic cells are stimulated to release endorphins (chemical chemicals) such as enkephalin and dynorphin.

These substances stimulate local blocking (blocking) of the incoming pain signal.

In addition to causing effects on the spinal cord, the nerve impulse produced by the acupuncture needle is transmitted to the periaqueductal gray area of the midbrain where enkephalin is released.

Enkephalin, in turn, triggers the release of the monoamine neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine in the spinal cord. These monoamines play a role in the discharge of pain impulse transmission.

In addition to its role in reducing pain, serotonin is also involved in producing an antidepressant effect in the brain.

In fact, once these areas are stimulated, there is the influence of local incoming pain sensation, causing the general effect of pain relief throughout the body, an anti-inflammatory effect and a general feeling of improved well-being. .

The choice of exact acupuncture points, whether they are close to the pain site or farther away, determines which of the three mentioned pathways are activated initially, in addition to maximizing the inhibition of pain from entering the segmental region of the spinal cord. Placing the needle at acupuncture points far from the pain area directly interferes with the central brain gland.

In general, a combination of local and distant acupuncture points are used together during a treatment in order to maximize the effects on all three centers.

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