Regulating Immune Function
Over 50 million Americans suffer from auto-immune disease; an auto-immune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. Auto-immune disorders include Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, and Guillain–Barré syndrome. Due to the complexity of treating auto-immune disorders, integrative medicine solutions including acupuncture and Oriental medicine have received much attention as successful therapies in their treatment. Acupuncture is specifically noted for its use in pain relief, regulating the immune system, managing symptoms, and improving quality of life.
Acupuncture regulates immune function within the human body and restores homeostasis. If an immune system has been hyperactive, as in the case of auto-immunity, acupuncture will down-regulate it to normal. But if the immunity is low, as in a weakened or suppressed immune system, it will up-regulate it to normal. Clinical research has shown that acupuncture causes physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure, body temperature, and the immune system. With successive treatments, your body should get closer and closer to a point of normal function again
Ways in which acupuncture specifically affects the body’s physiology:
- Reduces inflammatory markers
- Enhances the autonomic nervous system
- Increases neurotransmitter receptors
- Increases healthy gut bacteria
- Reduces auto-antibodies
- Regulates pituitary hormones
- Alters expression of genes related to immune function
- Regulates T-helper cell activity and the T-cell subset balance
- Reduces early cellular apoptosis
- Promotes blood circulation
- Alters neuro-function to reduce stress and anxiety
In addition to acupuncture, your treatment program to manage your auto-immune disorder may involve a combination of therapies including stress-reducing exercises, moderate physical activity, herbal medicine, nutritional support, and bodywork.