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The Mechanisms of Immunomodulation in Acupuncture

In TCM, the heart has the designation of emperor, due to it’s influence on the other organs. A similar correlation can be made in bio-medicine, as all organs rely on the continuous circulation of oxygenated blood pumped by the heart. In addition to it’s physiological function, the heart houses the shen or what is closely related to the spirit in common nomenclature. In a holistic view of medicine, all parts and aspects of the body are interrelated and co-dependant. Therefor, when the shen is disturbed, the physiological function of the heart is disrupted.

Below are excerpts from the source article, which provide clinical rationale as to why the heart is plays such an integral role in healing, through it’s connectivity to all organs and tissues via the polarization of cells.

“The heart generates the strongest and most extensive rhythmic electromagnetic field in the body. As all cells throughout the body are oriented according to the magnetic vector of the heart, the heart has a powerful influence on everybody process. The activity of immune cells is closely connected to their polarity: when immune cells become depolarized, they are deactivated as a result.”

“The bioelectrical state of cells and tissues was shown to regulate their differentiation, migration, and proliferation and plays an important role in the development of cancer [11-25]. Bioelectrical activity has long been implicated in neoplasm, and recent molecular efforts have focused on ion channels as important cancer targets, and ion channel drugs as a promising therapy [26-35].”

“The activity of a cell’s receptors depends on its state of polarity: depolarization is accompanied by deactivation. Specifically,the depolarization of immune cell receptors corresponds to their deactivation and inability to recognize and eliminate pathogenic cells, especially cancer cells [40,41].
The disorganization and depolarization of tissue structures leads to their predisposition to be involved in pathological processes, and to the development of cancer [42].”

“Cancer cells exhibit different polarity compared to cells in surrounding tissues.”

“The activity of immune cells and the sensitivity of their receptors is related to their state of polarity: when immune cells become depolarized, their receptors are deactivated. The question remains, what system in the body controls polarity and cell activity, including in immune cells?

Some researchers propose that acupuncture amplifies the biological electromagnetic field, explaining that the enhanced movement of stem cells by a weak electromagnetic field accounts for the results of acupuncture treatment [45].

“Even within shu points, there is a differentiation in waveforms between point having an organ associated illness and those without.
In patients with confirmed gastric ulcer, the waveform of the electrogram reading of the stomach SHU point (BL 21) was modified, while electrogram readings of other SHU points were similar to those of healthy subjects (Figures 2 & 3).”

This is a preliminary study with a small sample size, but the data implies that it warrants further study on a larger scale.

“Acupuncture’s immunomodulating effect is related to the activation of Beta-endorphins in the hypothalamic centers. This activation might employ not only neurological pathways, but may also be related to electromagnetic induction, controlled by the heart, and launched by the stimulation of the acupuncture point.”

“One acupuncture point can be pivotal, though treatment protocols involving synergistic points together will produce better results. This action is realized via the activation of Beta-endorphins, especially in the lateral hypothalamus center (51, 60, 62). It is interesting that the lateral hypothalamus area, the area of immune control activated by acupuncture, is also related to the HACER heart responses, as it has been shown that the heart’s electromagnetic field enhances the activity of this same area ”

“In addition, several studies have shown that acupuncture enhances the flow of stem cells through acupuncture meridians toward a target organ. This increased supply of stem cells replaces the destroyed cells and thus aids in regeneration of tissues. In our opinion, electromagnetic signals generated by the heart regulate the flow of these cells through the acupuncture meridian, and thus control the body’s innate potential for regeneration.”


“Our preliminary research offers additional proof for the existence of a sovereign system of control over the organization and function of bodily tissues, the foundation of which is electromagnetic communication generated by the heart, and propagated through the network of acupuncture meridians. The recognized immunomodulating effect of acupuncture is related to the restoration of tissue structure and organization, and cell polarity and function. The needling of acupuncture points activates the receptivity of target tissues and immune cells to the heart’s electromagnetic signals and thus restores their polarity and function.”

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