Acupuncture and Stress
• This is a special chapter which could need a whole lesson.
• Briefly: it’s impossible to have an emotion without a reflex response of muscles and the Autonomous nervous system.
• In the opposite direction, you can not act on muscles or the autonomous nervous system without having an emotional modification.
The cholinergic anti-inflammatory system:
• Reflex loop mediated by the vagus nerve.
• Inflammation releases cytokines; cytokines activate vagus nerve afferents, and the vagus nerve will respond by the
release of acetylcholine ,which will act on the nicotinic receptors of the inflammatory cells, inhibiting the release
• The response can be global or local.
• Acupuncture has a cholinergic effect.
Activation of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory system.
Aspirin and ibuprofen found to substantially increases vagus nerve activity.
Acupuncture, meditation, hypnosis, and relaxation therapies can stimulate vagus nerve.
Exercise raises vagus nerve activity and decreases cytokine levels.
Kevin J. Tracey (b. 10 December 1957, Fort Wayne, IN, USA) is Director of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and Professor and President of the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine in Manhasset, NY. Although trained as a neurosurgeon, he is an immunologist known for his physiological and molecular studies of inflammation and disease and, in particular, for investigating how the nervous system controls the responses of the immune system to threat.