Acupuncture enhances generation of nitric oxide and increases local circulation!

Acupuncture increases nitric oxide production

Acupuncture increases nitric oxide production

For centuries, acupuncture has been used in Eastern medicine with amazing results.  We’ve struggled for years to understand why acupuncture benefits the body, though some practitioners believe it has to do with improving the flow of energy, or chi.

Even while acknowledging the limited understanding of the mechanisms and effects of acupuncture on pain, scientists have published a report in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia which indicates that acupuncture does open up the blood vessels by increasing the activity of nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme responsible for the creation of nitric oxide gas in the body.

The scientists theorized that pain may also be related to alterations in the local circulation and that it is reasonable to assume that acupuncture may change that circulation and thus affect pain.  According to the abstract: “Because NO is a key regulator of local circulation, and because change in circulation can affect the development and persistence of pain, we propose that acupuncture might regulate NO levels.”

The scientists took two groups, one would receive real acupuncture and the other a sham acupuncture.  Then they measured the effect of the procedure.  What they found was astonishing.

Those who received sham acupuncture in their arm hand palm temperatures the same before and after the procedure.  However, those who received real acupuncture had palm temperatures after the procedure significantly exceeding those before the procedure, indicating an increase in blood flow.

Furthermore the scientists found that the areas treated with acupuncture had a significant in crease in nitrate and nitrate in the blood, which are by products of nitric oxide (NO) production.  you can read more from this study here.

While the scientists in this study were only testing the correlation between acupuncture and nitric oxide as it relates to pain, those who practice acupuncture receive benefits far beyond just pain relief.   Certain pressure points in the body seem to be asscoiated with specific organs and health conditions.  Is it possible that nitric oxide release is stimulated by acupuncture through some sympathetic biological system?

Have you heard of any other related studies?