Medical Research

Somato-Autonomic Effects of Acupuncture

Kristen Sparrow • February 15, 2021

North Lake, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Reading this article makes me extremely motivated to get back to my writing project!!  This is part of what it’s all about and why I’ve been suspicious of non-penetrating needles as a control for a long time.


Modern randomized clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of acupuncture for treating a range of conditions, including gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, stress urinary incontinence, and others.1–5 Animal studies have also shown that acupuncture stimulation can modulate systemic inflammation powerfully.6–11 These somato–visceral and immune effects of acupuncture reflect one of the core ideas of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture practice. That is, stimulation at specific somatic tissues (acupoints) can modulate internal organ physiology distantly. The ancient meridian-channel theory provides a conceptual framework of somato–internal organ connections, but the physical presence of such channels has not yet been supported by modern anatomical studies, although acupoints appear to be located along the fascial tissues enriched with nerves, vascular/lymphatic vessels, and immune cells.12–14

Medical Acupuncture Somato-autonomic reflexes of acupunctureacu.2020.1488