How Acupuncture Can Help Treat Autoimmune Disorders
An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys your own body’s cells, tissues, and organs.
Some common autoimmune disorders include: Rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease, SLE/Lupus, Psoriasis, Sjogren’s disease, Alopecia, and Multiple Sclerosis
The exact cause of autoimmune diseases is unclear. It has been suggested that they are cultivated by the perfect storm of genetic mutations, stress, poor diet and gut health, environmental pollutants, and unresolved chronic infection.
These factors create a state of chronic systemic inflammation in the body and eventually trigger an autoimmune attack.
In traditional Chinese medicine terms, this autoimmune inflammation is seen as a combination of the following patterns (1):
– Yin deficiency
– Blood stasis
– Phlegm damp accumulation
Yin deficiency causes symptoms of heat and dryness. Nourishing yin can be understood as protecting the cells and tissues from attack and destruction. Clearing heat and transforming damp can be translated as reducing fever and inflammation. Dispersing blood stasis is equivalent to enhancing blood circulation, which nourishes tissues with an increase of oxygenated blood and delivers anti-inflammatory immune factors.
Bringing all these concepts into one treatment with a few well chosen acupuncture needles can have a powerful impact on autoimmune conditions.
Getting regular acupuncture treatments will not only ease the symptoms of the various autoimmune disorders, but will also regulate the body’s physiology to correct underlying dysfunctions.
Here is how acupuncture specifically affects the body’s physiology: –
– Reduces inflammatory markers (2)
– Enhances the autonomic nervous system (3)
– Increases neurotransmitter receptors (4)
– Increases healthy gut bacteria (5)
– Reduces auto-antibodies (6)
– Regulates pituitary hormones (7)
– Alters expression of genes related to immune function (8)
– Regulates T helper cell activity and the T cell subset balance (9)
– Reduces early cellular apoptosis (10)
– Promotes blood circulation (11)
– Alters neuro-function to reduce stress and anxiety (12)
If you are struggling to control an autoimmune disorder, consider adding acupuncture treatments as an adjunct to your existing care.
1. Hou, W., Xu, G., Wang,H. Treating Autoimmune disease with Chinese Medicine. 1st ed. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2011.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2015 Jul-Aug;21(4):26-34.
2. Targeting NF-κΒ and TNF-α Activation by Electroacupuncture to Suppress Collagen-induced Rheumatoid Arthritis in Model Rats. Li J, Li J, Chen R, Cai G.
3. Unique immunomodulation by electro-acupuncture in humans possibly via stimulation of theautonomic nervous system.Mori H, Nishijo K, Kawamura H, Abo T. Neurosci Lett. 2002 Mar 1;320(1-2):21-4.
4. Neural Regen Res. 2016 Mar;11(3):465-8. “Warming yang and invigorating qi” acupuncture alters acetylcholine receptor expression in the neuromuscular junction of rats with experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis. Huang HP1, Pan H2, Wang HF2.
5. Acupunct Med. 2013 Mar;31(1):116-7. Effect of acupuncture treatment for weight loss on gut flora in patients with simple obesity. Xu Z, Li R, Zhu C, Li M.
6. Zou Y et al. [Experimental study on action of acupoint embedding thread on ANCA in the rat of ulcerative colitis]. Zhongguo Jiu . 2005;25(7): 509-12.
7. Regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity and immunologic function contributed to the anti-inflammatory effect of acupuncture in the OVA-induced murine asthma model.Wei Y, Dong M, Zhong L, Liu J, Luo Q, Lv Y, Mo S, Sun J, Liu F, Xu F, Yan C, Dong J. Neurosci Lett. 2017 Jan 1;636:177-183.
8. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2017 Jun 25;42(3):209-16. [Hypothalamic Transcription Profiles Associated with Twirling-reducing Needling in Rats with Stress-induced Prehypertension].[Article in Chinese] Sun QS1, Guo QY1, Jia WR1, Jin ZY1, Ji Z1, Guo QL1, Yang FY1, Zhan H1, Wang H1, Liu QG2.
9. Zhao C et al. Moxibustion and acupuncture ameliorate Crohn’s Disease by regulating the balance between Th17 and Treg cells in the intestinal mucosa. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;938054.
10. [Effects of electro-acupuncture on neuronal apoptosis and associative function in rats with spinal cord injury]. Li CM, Xie SJ, Wang T, Du WB, Yang ZB, Quan RF. Zhongguo Gu Shang. 2015 Aug;28(8):733-8. Chinese.
11. J Tradit Chin Med. 1998 Jun;18(2):134-9. Effects of electroacupuncture at neiguan on myocardial microcirculation in rabbits with acute myocardial ischemia. Cao Q1, Liu J, Chen S, Han Z.
12. Manual Acupuncture at PC6 Ameliorates Acute Restraint Stress-Induced Anxiety in Rats by Normalizing Amygdaloid Noradrenergic Response. Zhao Z, Kim SC, Liu H, Zhang J, Wang Y, Cho IJ, Lee BH, Song CH, Lee CW, Yang CH, Zhao R, Wu Y. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:4351723.