Acupuncture is used extensively for a variety of medical purposes ranging from the prevention and treatment of disease, to relieving pain. It is a part of a comprehensive medical system known as Chinese Medicine, where it is often administered in conjunction with Chinese herbal medicine, breathing exercises, nutritional recommendations and/or suggestions for healthier lifestyle. Acupuncture addresses both the symptoms and root of health problems. Because of this, it can address a large number of medical and psychological disorders with minimal to no side-effects.  

How Acupuncture Works

Acupuncturists view the body as being made up of a network of channels or meridians that contain Qi. By using very thin, sterile, stainless steel needles, acupuncture is able to conduct this Qi or energy within our bodies and adjust the flow of this energy. By relieving pain and stress and restoring the proper internal functions of our bodies, acupuncture allows our bodies to better heal themselves, naturally.

Many skeptics discredit acupuncture based on the fact that the existence of Qi has not been validated scientifically. However you do not need to believe in Qi or understand what Qi is to understand how acupuncture works. From a scientific standpoint, researchers have been trying to determine just how acupuncture works since Dr. Ji-Sheng Han began his pioneering research in 1965. Most research indicates that acupuncture works by affecting our central nervous system. In particular, acupuncture has been shown to release chemical messengers (neuropeptides and neurotransmitters) into our body, which in turn affect the release, absorption, breakdown and re-uptake of other chemicals and hormones, such as amino acids, endorphins, serotonin, endogenous opioids and insulin into our central nervous system, thus modulating pain, immune responses and hormones as well as activating other self-healing mechanisms within the body. (1)

A recent study indicates that the stretching or wrapping of connective tissue around the acupuncture needle can affect the release of neuropeptides and is one way that acupuncture can affect our central nervous system (2).

Functional MRI (fMRI) studies have also confirmed the specificity of many acupuncture points, as well as the role of the central nervous system in how acupuncture works. For example, an acupuncture point used for the treatment of vision problems or pain, when stimulated with acupuncture needles, caused visual or pain relieving areas in the brain to be affected in the fMRI images (3).

Overall the results of acupuncture have proven to be measurable and affect many systems of the body such as our endocrine system, nervous system, immune system and circulatory system. Additionally there is much research confirming what many patients experience, that acupuncture is effective in treating many types of pain, arthritis, nausea, tension headaches, migraines, hot flashes, allergies and much more!

The Cochrane Collaboration, an esteemed independent scientific review board has concluded that there is now sufficient evidence indicating that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of migraines (4), tension-type headaches (5), post-operative (6) or chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (7), neck pain (8) and low back pain (9).

Conditions Treated by Acupuncture

Both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize acupuncture as a viable treatment method for a number of medical conditions.

  • addiction
  • anxiety
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • bronchitis
  • cancer & chemotherapy
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • chronic fatigue
  • colitis
  • common cold
  • constipation
  • dental pain
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • digestive trouble
  • dizziness
  • dysentery
  • emotional problems
  • eye problems
  • facial palsy
  • fatigue
  • fertility
  • fibromyalgia
  • gingivitis
  • headache
  • hiccough
  • incontinence
  • indigestion

To start improving your health with acupuncture you can Schedule Online or call us at (978) 369-9400 to schedule your first appointment. If you are still not sure if acupuncture is right for you, call (978) 369-9400 to schedule a FREE 15 minute consult, with one of our acupuncturists.


  1. Han JS. Acupuncture and endorphins. Neurosci Lett. 2004 May 6;361(1-3):258-61.
  2. Langevin H. The Science of Stretch: The study of connective tissue is shedding light on pain and providing new explanations for alternative medicine. The Scientist; May 2013.
  3. Liu H, et. al. fMRI Evidence of Acupoints Specificity in Two Adjacent Acupoints. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013.
  4. Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001218. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub2.
  5. Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD007587. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007587.
  6. Lee A, Fan LTY. Stimulation of the wrist acupuncture point P6 for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD003281. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003281.pub3.
  7. Ezzo J, Richardson MA, Vickers A, Allen C, Dibble S, Issell BF, Lao L, Pearl M, Ramirez G, Roscoe JA, Shen J, Shivnan JC, Streitberger K, Treish I, Zhang G. Acupuncture-point stimulation for chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD002285. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002285.pub2.
  8. Trinh K, Graham N, Gross A, Goldsmith CH, Wang E, Cameron ID, Kay TM, Cervical Overview Group. Acupuncture for neck disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD004870. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004870.pub3.
  9. Furlan AD, van Tulder MW, Cherkin D, Tsukayama H, Lao L, Koes BW, Berman BM. Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001351. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001351.pub2.