Researchers at Hubei University of Chinese Medicine have found that acupuncture poses advantages to the immune system. These researchers discovered that electro-acupuncture stimulation of one particular acupuncture point (ST36) can boost the presence of immune cytokines and splenic CD4+ T cells through TRPV channels. In addition, that same pressure point enhanced serum interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-2, and IL-17.
Cytokines are proteins given off by cells that affect communication between them. This occurs via TRPV (also known as transient receptor potential vanilloid) channels, which act as sensors for many physical and chemical stimuli that help form visual and auditory sensations, touch, temperature, and more.
Why are these findings so important? CD4+ T cells (also referred to as helper cells) are vital within the human immune system, defending the body against viruses. This represents a key area of acupuncture’s effectiveness.
Acupuncture for the treatment of diseases in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long been used as a supplemental therapy to map out the pathways inherent in acupuncture. By confirming therapeutic results, researchers also concluded that acupuncture can treat stress-induced immunodeficiency.
Researchers were encouraged to do this study after seeing prior research that found electro-acupuncture stimulation of ST36 could activate the immune system and benefit patients who were getting anti-cancer therapy. They used the latest state of the art techniques to measure the effects of electro-acupuncture, such as flow cytometry, immunofluorescence and ultrasonication.
Stimulation of ST36, which has long been an important acupuncture point in TCM, is already known to nourish the blood and alleviate pain. The findings now point to the hope that all diseases can be treated with ST36, which was implemented as far back as the Han Dynasty. Coupled with the knowledge that ST36 can boost the immune system, researchers are hopeful that the production of helper T cells can be enhanced and promote the proliferation of cytokines. This is yet another modern example of how acupuncture can benefit humans.
Contact Metro Detroit Acupuncture
Metro Detroit Acupuncture in Southeast Michigan is Detroit’s leading acupuncture, Chinese herbs and pain management clinic. If you would like more information on how acupuncture can benefit your immune system, please contact us at 248-432-2846. Our practice is led by Marino Moutafis, a nationally certified acupuncturist who is licensed by the Michigan Board of Acupuncture.