The above question pops up all the time, especially with clients who are new to acupuncture.
There’s now a lot of high-quality research, especially from the last decade or two, confirming that acupuncture affects multiple aspects of the body’s systems: the neurological system (nerves), the circulatory system (blood), the cellular system (stem cells in particular), and the mental/emotional state.
It’s important to note that none of this research is able to confirm the exact mechanism by which these effects are produced, simply that changes are taking place in response to stimuli.
Like the acupuncturists of millennia ago, none of these specific effects are things that we are aiming to produce – in fact, we’re not even thinking about them! Instead, we’re working on broader ideas of Qi (energy) and Blood and are trying to bring the body back into balance. Usually, we do this using the channel (meridian) system, which transverses the surface of the body and connects to the inside.
These principles of acupuncture, while constantly being informed and validated by modern science, are nevertheless essentially the same techniques that have been passed down since time immemorial.