Acupuncture/ Brain function/Sympathetic vs. parasympathetic: Some of acupuncture’s effect are due to changes in brain activities
This study focuses on the effects acupuncture has on the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. Acupuncture has been shown regulate autonomic nerve activities such as blood pressure, pupil size, and heart rate variability. This article is a literature review of 44 publications. The review shows that feedback loops between the peripheral nerves and the central nervous system are effected by acupuncture, which in turn alters the functioning of the hypothalamus, the medulla oblongata, the midbrain, and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. The literature review also showed an increase in endogenous opioids and nerve growth factor. The review showed that acupuncture activates distinct regions, regulates the balance of the sympathetic and para sympathetic nervous system, and regulates neurotransmitter levels. It is unclear what specific acupuncture points are most effective, more research needs to be done.