Test Reveals Acupuncture Controls Hormones To Reduce Stress 

A new laboratory experiment reveals that acupuncture regulates steroid hormones to reduce biochemical reactions to stress. Brain chemistry investigations reveal that acupuncture regulates hormones to reduce stress. Acupuncture upregulates hormones in some areas while downregulating in other areas to maintain balance within the body when it is exposed to stress. Western blot analysis confirmed behavioral testing that acupuncture biochemically reduces stress reactions.

The researchers discovered that acupuncture reduces stress by regulating glucocorticoid receptor (GR) protein expression. Acupuncture simultaneously upregulated GR protein expression in the hippocampus, hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and pituitary gland while decreasing expression in the adrenal cortex when laboratory rats were exposed to stress. This counters the opposite biochemical phenomenon caused by unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS). The researchers note that acupuncture balances bodily biochemistry in this dual-directional manner.

The researchers conducted a controlled experiment on different acupuncture points on laboratory rats and discovered that hormone reactions to acupuncture are point specific. Control groups did not receive acupuncture. Two groups received different sets of acupuncture points combined with exposure to unpredictable chronic mild stress. Group 1 received acupuncture at LR14 (Qimen) and UB23 (Shenshu). Group 2 received acupuncture at SP6 (Sanyinjiao) and KI9 (Zhubin).

The researchers note that the LR14, UB23 group showed a significantly greater reduction in stress related biochemical responses at adrenocorticotropic hormone receptors (ACTHR) than the SP6, KI9 group. “ACTHR protein expression was reduced remarkably in (the) pituitary gland and adrenal cortex….” in response to stress for both acupuncture groups although the LR14, UB23 combination was more effective.

The researchers note that “it is recognized generally that CRH (corticotrophin releasing hormone) is one of the important initiating factors in the stress process.” Acupuncture demonstrated a powerful ability to inhibit CRH protein expression in response to stress. Testing revealed that different acupuncture points caused unique CRH responses thereby confirming acupuncture point specificity. The same acupuncture point specificity was discovered with ACTHR protein expression and GR protein expression.

The researchers note that acupuncture demonstrated the ability to “decrease HPAA excitability” in reactions to stress. The HPAA (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis) controls reactions to stress along with regulating many bodily functions including digestion and immunity. The researchers documented that acupuncture initiates a cascade of biochemical responses via the HPAA to reduce stress.

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Wang, Shao-jun, Jiao-jiao Zhang, Li-li Qie, and Shao-Jun Wang. “Acupuncture relieves the excessive excitation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortex axis function and correlates with the regulatory mechanism of GR, CRH and ACTHR.”

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