Harvard scientists discovered the neuroanatomical basis for acupuncture points that trigger a specific anti-inflammatory signaling pathway, advancing the understanding of acupuncture’s therapeutic potential.
The team, led by Harvard Medical School neurobiologists, found the specific type of neuron — “PROKR2-Cre marked sensory neurons” — that must be present for acupuncture to trigger an anti-inflammatory response via the vagal-adrenal axis, a signaling pathway in the nervous system, according to their paper published in Nature last month.
In a study conducted on mice, the researchers showed that the PROKR2-Cre marked neurons only occur in an area of the hindlimb region, explaining why the anti-inflammatory response is not present in other regions of the body.
Senior author of the paper and HMS professor of neurobiology Qiufu Ma said that this discovery will allow scientists to predict the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory acupuncture treatment at different points of the body.
“Most importantly, based on the distribution of this fiber, we can predict where [it] will be effective,” Ma said.
The team was interested in a medical problem known as cytokine storm, which is triggered by diseases such as Covid-19 and cancer. A cytokine storm occurs when our immune response releases too many pro-inflammatory cytokines — small proteins important in cell signaling — which causes “collateral damage” in our bodies, according to Ma.
Ma pointed to a previous discovery which showed that “brief electrical stimulation” of the vagal-adrenal axis — a pathway in which the vagus nerve signals the adrenal gland to release dopamine, which reduces inflammation — via acupuncture increased survival in mice suffering from cytokine storm from 20 percent to around 75 percent.
The team hopes their study can open new doors for the optimization of this anti-inflammatory, therapeutic application of acupuncture, according to co-lead author and postdoctoral fellow Shenbin Liu.
“These findings could pave the way to optimization of bioelectronic stimulation parameters (eg. stimulation intensity, location and depth) to drive distinct autonomic pathways for treating specific diseases, including severe cytokine release syndromes, the management of which remains a major medical challenge,” Liu wrote in an email.
Original Article: Acupuncture Times website
In recent days, I have treated a few children for conditions mostly related to the misuse of modern drugs. I wanted to share my concerns with parents, so that they may have natural options and so that their children may end up with fewer health problems. I hope that this in turn will help children reach their fullest potential.
One nine-year-old girl with eczema who came to my office was particularly outstanding. She had almost no appetite. She felt bloated after eating. She could not sleep at night because of severe itching from skin and food allergies, and would only fall asleep in the morning. She felt thirsty and sweaty, as well as chills inside and heat on the surface of her body. She was treated with antibiotics for an ear infection before coming to see me. Her mother used an inhaler to help relieve her asthma and cough she had been suffering from at one time.
During an interview with her mother present, it turned out that the girl’s condition was due partly to the drugs’ side effects and partly to poor dietary habits: she was consuming a lot of fruit and drank very cold drinks. In modern thinking, we associate fruits with goodness and healthiness, but according to the view of traditional Chinese medicine, an overabundance of fruit and raw foods leads to an imbalance named “cold and dampness.” Just to give an idea of how “cold” her body was, I recall how she was shivering while lying on my treatment table, even under a blanket and with the heat lamp over her!
I gave the traditional Chinese diagnosis of “severe yang deficiency of the spleen, heart and kidneys, and accumulation of toxins in the liver.” The term yang represents the patient’s metabolic function. The organs named above do not correspond to the modern understanding of organic function but represent abstract diagnostic entities that help refine the diagnosis and guide the treatment. Herbal treatment was therefore prescribed to help recover the yang energy in those organs and clear the toxins from the liver. Acupuncture was also used, and after only a couple of treatments, she recovered.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the balance of yin and yang is the most important condition for health. Modern drugs have a mostly yin quality. An excess of yin will damage the yang. Some drugs, such as antibiotics, damage the yang energy of the heart. The heart is associated with the fire element in the five-element system of Chinese medicine. Less heart yang means less warmth and liveliness in the body as if the weather were rainy, cold, and damp, a greater tendency to fatigue, and a lowered immunity. Only the presence of yang, like sunshine, would let those cold and humid conditions evaporate, enlivening the body again.
For many children, problems aren’t as serious, but of similar nature. Antibiotics and inhalers weaken their yang energy. As a result, they need a long time to recover from colds and flu, have a hard time falling asleep, and do not have much appetite. Often these children will present with cold hands and feet, which is another indication of weak yang energy. This is contrary to children’s general constitution, who, according to traditional Chinese texts, normally have abundant yang energy. When children have weak yang and reduced digestive capacity, they tend not to grow as tall, have thin frames, puffy muscles, poor memory, and a tendency to tire easily.
I once treated a teenager who suffered from scoliosis of the lumbar vertebrae. The curvature was caused by muscular atrophy on one side; thus the muscles on the other side pulled the spine disproportionately, causing a deformation. The treatment principle consisted of a special acupuncture technique that employs long and thick needles. This teenager did not seem to be otherwise suffering from any serious condition besides lacking energy and a bit of acne. When I interviewed his father, I learned that my patient had been on antibiotics off and on for about three years because of an ear infection when he was about five years old.
I reasoned that prolonged treatment with antibiotics depleted his spleen energy and blocked certain energy channels. Again, in Chinese medicine, the spleen represents the digestive system, food metabolism, and muscular development, rather than the modern biomedical notion of spleen function. Fortunately, after a couple of acupuncture sessions, his muscles started to grow slowly on the atrophied side. With acupuncture treatments and daily exercise, we can hope that his muscles will become more even and vertebral alignment can be ameliorated.
From these experiences, I wish to tell parents that children can be helped to grow healthy and strong, so as to develop a robust physical constitution into their adult years. In this way, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture can be of help. Instead of using modern drugs to cover up the manifestation of illness, thereby eventually weakening the immune system, Chinese medicine goes to the root of the problem. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, children can be healthy and strong. This medical system has been in use for thousands of years and has an extensive track record of safety, effectiveness, and a near-complete absence of side effects.
Acupuncture shows promise in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) causes pain and mobility problems and may be a contributing factor for patients to terminate or suspend chemotherapy treatment. CIPN may also contribute to discomfort and debilitation for months to years after completing chemotherapy.
Most medical practitioners agree that there is not an effective medical cure for CIPN (Schroder S. Meyer-Hamm G., et. al., Acupuncture in Medicine (2011), p. 1). However, a promising pilot study conducted at the University Medical Center in Hamburg Germany suggests that “Acupuncture has a positive effect on CIPN,” (Schroder S. Meyer-Hamm, Acupuncture in Medicine (2011), p. 1). The study cited here concludes that nerve conduction studies as well as the patient reports of symptoms showed positive responses in the patients who completed a 10-week course of acupuncture treatment for CIPN. “These findings are of special significance since PN [peripheral neuropathy] is otherwise almost untreatable but seems to respond to treatment by acupuncture” (Schroder S., Meyer-Hamm G., et al., Acupuncture in Medicine (2011), p. 3).
Schroeder, s., Meyer-Hamme, G., Epplee “Acupuncture for Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN): A Pilot Study Using Neurography, Acupuncture in Medicine (2011). acupuncture today.
The process of fire cupping leaves the person with so much rejuvenation that one cannot help but flaunt smiles! The back to stomach procedure neatly done shown in the picture describes the happiness on the face of our client!
Cosmetic acupuncture helps improve skin tissue. It enhances local blood circulation and tissue reconstruction.
Pigmentation Discoloration of the skin is another sign of aging skin. Some people without wrinkles will show signs of age due to skin discolorations. External damage to the epidermis and dermis layers and an imbalance of hormone production of the endocrine system are the common causes to pigmentation and discoloration.
Acupuncture can help heal skin damage such as sun spots and repair cellular damage and stimulate growth of new cells. Pigmentation due to hormonal imbalance can also be addressed. The treatments will allow the body to balance its endocrine system, normalizing hormone release and function.
How can you stop heavy bleeding during menstrual cycles?
One can apply as much as ice as possible on the palm at the base of the middle and ring finger for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day
Hi all. We are coming up with a series called “query Wednesdays”.
Here we will be posting simple home based tips and solutions to the query by our audience for the coming four Wednesdays. Stay tuned and show us your love
Hello all, we have come to an end of our season series and with that, we are announcing our next i.e. COSMETIC ACUPUNCTURE series. The main principle of the system is that “beauty comes from within” and hence we look at the internal well being to decipher what’s going on the outside.
Stay tuned with us to know more about what is cosmetic acupuncture, its types benefits and testimonials by our renowned clients.