Acupuncture Point Proven to Reduce Stress and Improve Health
by Dr. Jay Sordean
Read Acupuncture Point Proven to Reduce Stress and Improve Health by Dr. Jay Sordean to learn more about The Redwood Clinic and our Acupuncture office in Berkeley, CA.
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The pericardium 6 or Inner Pass (aka PC6 or Neiguan) is one of the most well known, researched and utilized Acupuncture points. It’s indicated to help calm the spirit and regulate the heart, which makes it useful for conditions like heart pain, palpitations, hypertension, insomnia, fear, mania, nausea and menstrual irregularities just to name a few. How can acupuncture point benefit so many different conditions? Because it works at the very root and today’s common denominator for the majority of illnesses: stress.
Today’s studies are proving that PC6 stimulation has powerful effects on the body. It relieves stress, as well as repairing the damage stress has already caused. It is also well known as an acupressure point for nausea. This knowledge has resulted in the development of wristbands that stimulate the point for the treatment of motion sickness.
PC6 is located on the inner forearm, 2 cun distal from the crease of the wrist. Cun is the anatomical measurement used by acupuncturists to help locate points on the body using an anatomical reference from the patient. A cun is the width of the individual’s thumb. This measure is unique to each individual’s anatomical structure, which allows compensating for differences in body types and sizes.
The Latest Research on Inner Pass
A recent study by Kim et al. looked at both the detrimental effects of stress and the subsequent relief and restoration of health PC6 can provide. Rats exposed to chronic mild stress exhibited decreased memory and retention as well as significantly lowered Acetylcholine esterase (AchE). In the study, PC6 was then stimulated while biochemical and behavioral changes were monitored. The study found that, AchE, or Acetylcholinesterase, brain activity was increased by PC6 stimulation and that the rats who received acupuncture at PC6 were able to restore AchE activity faster than those in the control group.
AchE, which is found primarily in the cholinergic nervous system and neuromuscular junctions, plays a vital role in synapse transmission. It is responsible for neurotransmitter conversion and the breakdown of acetylcholine to choline and acetate. It is responsible for the termination of synaptic transmission, which allows relaxation to occur.
AchE levels are directly related to Acetylcholine levels. Without AchE, Acetylcholine is allowed to build up. Depending on the degree of excess, high Acetylcholine can cause a spectrum of symptoms, including aggression, depression, neuromuscular paralysis and even asphyxiation. Low levels can be detrimental as well, causing impaired memory function. This proves the importance of having balanced Acetylcholine levels. Acupuncture’s ability to balance AchE is beneficial because it works to balance Acetylcholine levels, resulting in both improved memory and relaxation.
This study also looked at behavioral changes of the rats using passive avoidance tests: the rat would be trained not to step into a hole and then repeatedly tested every day for 6 days to monitor retention. The group exposed to chronic mild stress exhibited impaired memory, but again, the group that then received treatment at PC6 had much better retention, improved memory, and learned skills than the control. The study concluded that PC6 could be used to improve memory, increase AchE hippocampus reactivity and repair stress-induced damage to learning and memory.
It is important to remember that Traditional Chinese Medicine is a highly complex system that functions within a paradigm all its own. There are at least 360 standard acupuncture points on the classical meridians and over 100 extra points. Most importantly, treatments are tailored to the individual, so any study using standardized treatments are not utilizing Traditional Chinese Medicine to it’s full capacity. These studies are helpful to show some of the many potential changes acupuncture induces within the body, but its healing powers may simply go beyond the parameters we can currently measure.
If you, a friend or family member are currently suffering from a health condition which is related to stress or if the current treatments you are receiving are not showing the expected results, then you should consider scheduling an appointment to find out how acupuncture can benefit you. For many people it has been difference between a life of suffering and a life of vibrant vitality.
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