Sensing the environment: Regulation of local and global homeostasis by the skin neuroendocrine system

Kristen Sparrow • July 03, 2016

This is an exhaustive treatment of the subject of the skin’s neuroendocrine role. I’ve only skimmed it, but I’ve already learned a number of interesting facts that might be pertinent to acupuncture.

  1. Number of nerves in the dermis decreases with age and with disease: perhaps this is why acupuncture can take longer in the elderly and why electroacupuncture is often more effective.2.
  2. There is a  direct effect of skin perturbation on the HPAA with cortisol release leading to a feedback to immune triggers. In the graphic below, acupuncture needle, or tattoo needle, could be substituted for “microbes.”

skin response CRF thyroid skin response












3. Skin perturbations may lead to modulation of the the thyroid.  Hyper/hypothyroid are classic yin/yang conditions.  So possibly skin needling could, in fact, modulate thyroid function.

Other endocrine systems are discussed too.  Endogenous opioid system is triggered with skin perturbation.