In the mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia, an important aspect often overlooked is the anti-inflammatory effect of acupuncture, which is mainly attained through the self-limiting inflammatory response-inflammatory reflex and its regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal(HPA) axis and autonomic nerve system (the vagus nerve and the sympathetic postganglionic fiber). The significance of anti-inflammatory effect of acupuncture in analgesia is manifested twofold: The first, inflammatory nociceptive pain is a major type of chronic pain. The second, neurogenic inflammation is the mechanism by which certain acupoints or acu-reflex points (ARPs) are formed at the body surface and have short-cut connections to the pathological focus. Selecting ARPs and applying appropriate sensory stimulation or local microtrauma (affected by different needling means or stimulation parameters), combined with low-frequency electrical stimulation or the vagus stimulation in the concha region, are helpful to strengthen the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect of acupuncture.
Authors: Bonnie XiaJin, Louis LeiJin, Guan-YuanJin
Published in: World Journal of Acupuncture – Moxibustion
Volume 29, Issue 1, March 2019, Pages 1-6