Western Medical Acupuncture
Although not well understood and inconclusive, some recent scientific evidence supports that acupuncture is therapeutically effective for certain biomedically-defined conditions when all traditional theories and concepts of acupuncture are disregarded. This has led to the formation of Western Medical Acupuncture theory.
Still in its infancy, Western Medical Acupuncture aims to understand acupuncture purely from within the limits of objective cause and effect sequences that are arrived at through strict analytic and reductionistic methodology. As a result, Western Medical Acupuncture seeks to identify the benefits of acupuncture in relation to empirically measurable neuroanatomical structures and biochemical processes. Using this approach, some evidence has shown that acupuncture is effective for a wide variety of conditions and Western-defined diseases, namely those associated with pain and inflammation.
But problems with study design, reproducibility, and establishing an adequate control have slowed the development of a widely-accepted, evidence-based biomedical model of acupuncture that explains exactly how and why acupuncture works. Consequently, the observed benefits of acupuncture by and large remain regulated to the placebo effect.
Nevertheless, all traditional concepts and theories of acupuncture aside, one area where acupuncture has gained a lot of biomedical notoriety has been in its ability to reduce pain. Recent research suggests that the pain-relieving effects caused by needling acupuncture points may be initiated through a series of reactions that in turn release biochemicals that block pain and activate the immune system. Evidence proposes that this activation of the immune system may explain not only the mechanism behind acupuncture's pain-reducing effects, but also its wide diverse therapeutic effects in regulating stress and other inflammatory conditions and chronic disorders now linked to inflammation. By activating the immune system and triggering an inflammatory response, acupuncture may be used to help improve the body’s natural response and adaptation to mental and physical stress, harmful pathogenic micro-organisms, and cellular waste, while also reducing pain and other related symptoms.