Acupuncture at a particular point tackles inflammation

Acupuncture at a particular point tackles inflammation

Precise positioning of acupuncture needles at the ST36 acupoint switches off Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha, which normally promotes inflammation, reduces immune response and promotes tumour growth and viral replication, according to a research study(1) in Korea

Inflammation can be a natural response to injury, or it can be the precursor to chronic illness.

Now researchers in Korea, Lim et al, have identified that acupuncture stimulation at the acupoint ST36 (Zusanli) has an anti-inflammatory effect. ST36 is known to be linked to the vagus nerve.

Apparently manual stimulation of the receptor produced a protein (c-Fos)n and also down-regulated Tumour Necrosis factor alpha. (TNF- α), which in turn reduced chronic inflammation in the body. A number of studies have shown that TNF- α regulates immune cells, and can induce fever, inflammation, apoptosis, inhibit tumor growth, and inhibit virus replication.

Chronic inflammation is involved in a variety of disease processes.

Interestingly, electroacupuncture (EAC) also induced the c-Fos protein generation but did not downregulate TNF- α.

When it is allowed to act fully, TNF-α is implicated in the processes of a number of diseases including major depression, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

According to this study, acupuncture has thus a very real anti-inflammatory effect but only when done manually at the ST36 point.

Go to: Acupuncture at a particular point tackles inflammation


  1. HD Lim et al., “Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture Stimulation via the Vagus Nerve,” PloS one. 11, no. 3 (March 19, 2016), accessed February 3, 2017, pp 4-5.
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