What are the principles of acupuncture and which are diseases that respond to this?

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cambtone eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As far as I know, all diseases that require superficial, rather than deep, pain relief will respond to acupuncture.  It is thought that acupuncture stimulates sensory cutaneous nerve endings that release chemicals.  Some believe these are endorphins, or natural pain-killers like opiates.  It is also possible that compounds in the skin are released by specialised cells that affect the immune response in the skin.  As a consequence certain immune cells in the skin are "down-regulated" (see Langerhans cells).  These are thought to be cells that stimulate an immune response, and therefore suppressing their activity will also suppress an immune response.  So, which diseases respond to acupuncture?  My guess is that inflammatory diseases are the most likely target.  Thus, acne and other skin ailments should respond well to acupunture.  Also, I would expect any ailment associated with a psychological condition to respond well.  This is a belief system with a psycholical basis.

giorgiana1976 | Student

Chinese doctors believed that diseases were not only expression of energy imbalance from which , from time to time, the body passes. Acupuncture aims to restore this balance disrrupted and thus restore the harmony of the whole body. This is achieved by placing very thin needles at various depths, along energy lines called meridians. Main meridians, 14 in number, are those that move the energy of life, Chi, and they help stimulate the body to overcome disease.

Acupuncture may relieve pain  by stimulating the liberation of endogenous substances, called endorphins. They have a similar effective of an analgesic, but  they have no adverse reactions because they are produced by the body. Many of the acupuncture points stimulated are located in the vicinity of nerve endings. After stimulation, there is a nerve impulse that will be translated into a feeling of dull pain or muscular tension. From the level of the muscles will leave a signal to the central nervous system (brain and spinal marrow), leading to release of endorphins, morphine similar product.

Endorphins are released into the body whenever we go through stressful situations, suffer intense physical pain, so that these feelings and pain to be canceled. In this particular situation (release stimulation through acupuncture), endorphins, among other neurotransmitters (chemicals produced by the body that alter nerve impulses), can block pain transmission from periphery to center.

Pain is treated by introducing acupuncture needles into painful points called "ashi", which is presumed to have been blocked and Chi is stagnant  By stimulating blocked zones it can play continuity of life energy through the body.

mkcapen1 | Student


Oriental medicine, under which acupuncture is classified, has a long standing history of trial and error.  However, unlike western medicine, oriental medicine evolves around the Taoist theory of harmony and life being in balance and looks to more tranquil and homeopathic means of treatment.  Oriental medicine evolves around a system of assessment, diagnosis, prescription and treatment which relate to a person’s Ying and Yang. Ying and Yang is the concept of the division of all things in the universe. A person’s Ying and Yang must be in harmony.  The principles behind oriental medicine coincides with the principles of acupuncture.  The principles include the five essential elements in nature; metal, water, wood, fire, and earth.  The QI and blood are also part of the principles that speculate that a person has pathways that circulate throughout the body and when one pathway is disrupted the body no longer works well and organs or other parts are affected.  In keeping with this theory, acupuncture is based on the person’s pathways and the insertion of thing needles into the body at different pathway locations throughout the body depending on the person’s pain or illness.


Acupuncture in the orient is often use in combination with nutritional treatment and natural herbs.  It is more clinical when used in western countries. 


Acupuncture works by blocking pain impulses to the spinal chord which relays messages to the brain.  The insertion of needles into certain pathways is believed to activate the endorphins in the brain which serve as the brains response to pain.  In addition, the movement of the needles causes a distraction from the central point of a person’s discomfort.  The specific placing of needles in the skin causes blood vessels to swell and release chemicals that repair tissue.


Diseases that have been known to respond to acupuncture include but are not limited to: arthritis, anxiety and depression, common colds, disk disorders, migraines, hypertension, cardiac palpitations, asthma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and obesity.  In addition, it has been used to treat alcoholism, Neurogenic bladder dysfunction, Cervicobrachial syndrome, and Gastro intestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  The rate of success of treatment depends on the severity of the person’s symptoms and may also include the person’s belief in the success of the treatment.  The Western world is still learning more about acupuncture and now credits it as a viable treatment for many diseases and medical problems.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Acupuncture is a system for curing diseases and relieving pain which was developed in china many thousands of years back.

The acupuncture treatment consists of inserting fine needles in various parts of the body. The locations where the needles are inserted is decided based on the part of the body affected by pain or disease and the nature of disease.

As per original Chinese thoughts it is believed that acupuncture cures people by acting on a life force that flows along 12 paired and 2 unpaired channels of energy that run longitudinally in the body. For cure by acupuncture specialist insert sharp needles at various points at one or more of hundreds of points that lie along these channels.

There are three major scientific theories explaining how acupuncture works. One theory suggests that, as claimed by ancient Chinese belief, the channels for flow of force actually exist and affect the body functioning. As per this theory, it is believed that acupuncture increases activity along these channels in specific ways leading to cure of diseases. A second theory claims that acupuncture works by influencing brains production of natural painkillers called endorphins. Finally some scientists believe that acupuncture works by affecting the body's nervous system, by triggering  messages sent to brains, that in turn results in brain responding in ways that results in relief of pain and triggering of other appropriate automatic responses of body mechanism for curing the malady.

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