Studies are verifying what I see in my New York clinic: that Acupuncture is an immune booster. Not only does it raise the body’s own levels of interferon, NK-cell and citokines, acupuncture also stimulates lymph drainage and arterial flow. This increases oxygenation throughout the body and enhances the release of toxins such as lactic acid, among many others.
Natural Killer Cells (NK) = These cells directly attack and kill infected and cancer / tumor cells. They are considered the “shock-troops” of the body’s defensive battle against cancer.
Among various studies conducted on both healthy adults and adults afflicted with malignant tumors, I will refer to only one. Blood analysis was taken on both control groups as well as groups treated with acupuncture. This paper references several studies examining the effect of acupuncture on levels of NK (natural killer cells). Within this paper, one study examined cytotoxicity levels of NK cells in both healthy women as well as a group of women with high levels of anxiety.
Interestingly, the women with chronic anxiety showed 3-fold lower NK cell activity than those with no reported anxiety. After 10 acupuncture treatments however, the anxious women showed a full restoration of NK-cell activity up to normal levels! An interesting observation is how both presence of malignant tumors AND stressed emotional states (anxiety) have been shown to lower the levels of immunity enhancing cell activity such as NK-cells. Remarkably, acupuncture treatments have consistently been shown to counteract the negative impact of emotional (anxiety) and physical (cancer) states on the immune-cell quantities and function.
This paper further references several other studies highlighting how acupuncture treatments have shown remarkable increases in NK-cells, Interferon-gamma, and interleukine-2 (IL-2). Some of these studies do, in fact, utilize “sham” points and control groups to further strengthen the argument that specific acupuncture points are directly responsible for these increases in immune function
These studies seem to provide an overwhelming body of evidence that acupuncture does have a strong effect in enhancing immune-cell function in the body, even in those with immuno-compromised conditions. And it is always heartening to see that Western Science is now catching up to what the scientists of ancient China already knew: Acupuncture is a powerful method for raising the immune system.
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