According to
Traditional Chinese
Medicine

Acupuncture works by
applying a thin needle to an
acupuncture point located
along the meridian - a
channel like structure. Each
of 14 meridians controls a
set of physiological functions
of corresponding internal
organs throughout the body.
Acupuncture achieves its
effect by regulating "Qi"
movement in the meridian.
"Qi" is a conceptual energy
substance that travels in the
meridians to influence the
functions of internal organs.
Disruption of Qi movement
and abnormally high and low
of Qi are used to explain the
symptoms or diseases.
Similarly, by up-regulating or
down-regulating the
functions of internal organs
through "Qi", acupuncture
achieves its therapeutic
aims and correct the
imbalance.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture & Natural Medicine              Dr. Peng in Bethesda and Rockville
Reducing inflammation and pain

Insertion of needles leads to attraction of immune cells to the
acupuncture points through chemotactic process as part of wound
healing mechanism. The immune cells then release significant
amount of anti-inflammatory proteins-leading to reduce the
inflammation. As many pain symptoms are the result of
inflammation such as low back pain and joint arthritis, the
needle-induced anti-inflammatory activity reduce the pain.

Balancing nerve systems by acting on
parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves

Many symptoms that acupuncture can treat are the result of
imbalance of sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. Symptoms
such as stress/anxiety, nausea/vomiting, abdominal bloating are
the result of hyperactive sympathetic or hypoactive
parasympathetic nerves (vagus nerve). Acupuncture on a number
of acupuncture points stimulate vagus nerve to rebalance the
nerve systems.

Acting on peripheral nerves to influence central nerve
system and treat peripheral nerve abnormality

Applying needles to acupuncture points stimulates peripheral nerve
activity, which in turns to act on brain. In neural sciences, more
than 60 studies using MRI imaging approach have demonstrated
different acupuncture points could activate different brain regions,
implying its contribution to treat pain, stress, migraine, insomnia,
and parkinson's diseases. Also, acupuncture can be used correct
abnormality of peripheral nerves to treat diseases including
peripheral neuropathy and shingles.