Specific Immune Mechanisms
Studies have shown a tendency of acupuncture to regulate immunogloblin (IgG) and complement levels toward normal values (Iliev, Popov & Nicolov 1990; Iliev, Popov & Nicolov 1995). An experimental study with 70 healthy human subjects indicated that acupuncture regulated the level of salivary IgA in the short term by increasing levels that were low and reducing those that were raised (Yang et al 1989).
In one study, acupuncture increased spontaneous lymphocyte proliferation during the hours following the needling (Ding, Roath & Lewith 1983). In another study, the levels of ß-endorphin in the immune cells of patients with low back pain were found to be low before treatment; normal levels were restored after a course of seven treatments with acupuncture, although a single treatment was not sufficient. (Bianchi et al 1991). In a controlled trial of 69 patients with lung cancer, the acupuncture treatment group showed significant increase in CD4 and CD11 cells as well as a reduction in digestive, respiratory and mental symptoms. (Ouyang, Cao &Cao 1992)
A randomized controlled trial of 76 patients with lung, esophagus or stomach cancer receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy gave additional acupuncture treatment to one group. The acupuncture group had significantly smaller weight loss, as well as improvement of symptoms and increase in lymphocyte rosette formation. (Xia et al 1986)
Iliev E, Nicolov K, Todorova 1990 The effects of psychological factors and the influence of electroacupuncturee on immunological parameters in patients with alopecia areata. Acupuncture in Medicine 8(2):56-58
Iliev F, Popov J, Nicolov K 1995 Evaluation of clinical and immunological parameters in patients with lichen ruber planes treated with acupuncture. Acupuncture in Medicine 13(2):91-92.
Yang et al 1989 Effect of acupuncture on immunoglobulins of serum, saliva and gingival sulcus fluid. American Journal of Chinese Medicine 17(l-2):89-94
Ding V, Roath S, Lewith G T 1983 Effect of acupuncture on lymphocyte behaviour. American Journal of Acupuncture 11(1):51-54.
Bianchi M, Jotti E, Sacerdote P, Pancrai A E 1991 Traditional acupuncture increases the content of beta-endorphin in immune cells and influences mitogen induced proliferation. American Journal of Chinese Medicine 19(2):101-104
Ouyang Q, Cao M, Cao Q 1992 An observation on the effect of moxibustion on the immunological functions in 69 cases of lung cancer. International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture 3(4):369-373.
Xia Y Q, Zhang D, Yang J C, Xu I I, Li Y, Ma L 1986 An approach to the effect on humours of acupuncture in combination with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 6(1):23-26