Theories on How Acupuncture Works



A board-certified applied kinesiologist and naturopath, Dr. Timothy Francis has been providing homeopathic care to patients for more than two decades. Working at his own practice in Las Vegas, Dr. Timothy Francis helps patients with various health issues through the use of treatments such as acupuncture with out needles.

At a basic level, acupuncture is believed to promote natural self-healing and improve various functions in the body. However, there are probably many different specific mechanisms that lead to these benefits.

When acupuncture was developed in China, practitioners believed that it stimulated the body to release qi, the flow of energy. Ancient practitioners thought that disruptions of this flow caused disease. Through acupuncture, the flow of qi was corrected, and patients would heal.

This concept has changed in modern times, but scientists have yet to determine a single mechanism of acupuncture. Some believe the treatment works by stimulating specific nerves in the body that send signals to the brain. The brain then releases beta-endorphins, which help patients feel happier and experience less pain.

Another hypothesis states that acupuncture plays a role in reducing inflammation. Several studies done on humans and animals suggest that acupuncture targets specific pro-inflammatory proteins in the body. Acupuncture may reduce the actions of these proteins and, thus, reduce inflammation and pain.


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