Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Acupuncture and the Relief of Stress

Ample suggests acupuncture can relieve stress by stabilizing the body's natural homeostatic state and it can be beneficial for treating anxiety and depression (Lombardo et al., 2001; Walling, 2006). Acupuncture may ameliorate stress by affecting action potentials and inducing them to return to their normal firing rhythm (Walling, 2006). Further, Walling (2006) believed that traditional acupuncture may create a sense of well-being by stimulating an increase in neuropeptides, and suppressing the inflammation processes in the immune system. Walling went on to say that acupuncture needs to be better understood with scientific theory, rather than its traditional philosophical theory.

On the other hand, the placebo response in well known, and it, too, can have a powerful effect on symptoms of ill health (Finniss, Kaptchuk, Miller, & Benedetti, 2010). In some studies, individuals who had positive expectations had far more dramatic results than those who were skeptical of acupuncture, suggesting that expectations of relief may mediate the placebo response (Linde et al., 2007). So, for those who believe acupuncture has contributed to your recovery...your recovery might be attributable to one or the other, or a little of both, but most importantly, you found something that worked for you!


Finniss, D. G., Kaptchuk, T. J., Miller, F., & Benedetti, F. (2010). Biological, clinical, and ethical advances of placebo effects. The Lancet, 375(9715), 686-695. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61706-2 (retrieved from:

Linde, K., Witt, C., Streng, A., Weidenhammer, W., Wagenpfeil, S., Brinkhaus, B., ... Melchart, D. (2007). The impact of patient expectations on outcomes in four randomized controlled trials of acupuncture in patients with chronic pain. [Abstract]. Pain, 128(3), 264-271. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2006.12.006

Walling, A. (2006). Therapeutic modulation of the psychoneuroimmune system by medical acupuncture creates enhanced feelings of well-being. Journal Of The American Academy Of Nurse Practitioners, 18(4), 135-143. doi:10.1111/j.1745-7599.2006.00115.x

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