Biological Mechanisms of Pediatric Acupuncture

Many times, I am asked how pediatric acupuncture works in the body. I always look at the Eastern Medicine flow of qi, blood and fluids in the body which is difficult to explain in Western terms.  I ran across several studies and information in reference to the biological mechanism of treatments and briefly wanted to share.

  • “There are a number of different mechanisms underlying pediatric acupuncture’s physiological effects. The most thoroughly researched area is pain. Numerous nerve pathways and biochemicals have been identified as being involved in acupuncture’s analgesic effects. These include Aδ, Aβ and C nerve fibers, opioid neuropeptides including enkephalins, endorphins, dynorphins, endomorphins, and nociceptin, and non-opioid neuropeptides including substance P (SP), vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). Several neurotransmitters are also involved including serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, cytokines, glutamate, nitric oxide, and gamma-amino-butyric-acid (GABA).”1.2.
  • Studies have demonstrated the direct effects of acupuncture on the central nervous system. Inducing muscle relaxation and changes in visceral organs.
  • Alters functional connectivity and deceases activity in limbic structures in the brain.
  • Regulation of hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal axis. Modulates activity in the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Speaking with any child they will say they are nice and relaxed after treatments. Now you get a slight understanding of why they feel so great.