Despite the growing popularity of acupuncture, its use in the treatment of infectious diseases is not widely accepted. However, scientific evidence does exist that suggests that acupuncture has a modulating effect on the immune system. Specifically, needling of a specific point along the upper shin bone has the potential to stimulate a type of interferon that is responsible for enhancing the body’s immune response.


It is widely accepted that acupuncture can reduce anxiety, eliminate toxins and improve sleep quality. In general, problems relative to these closely related factors result in significant immune system compromise.  Acupuncture has long been a treatment of choice for these issues. In addition, research has verified the effect of acupuncture at increasing certain types of interferons, especially NK cell concentrations. 


Interferons are types of signaling proteins released by virally infected cells.  Interferon then stimulates the infected cells to produce proteins that prevent further replication. White blood cells produce Alpha and Beta interferon. T-cells and NK (natural killer) cells stimulate production of Gamma interferon. 

In a small 17 subject human study conducted in 2007, Yamaguchi concluded that there were significant increases in NK cell markers following acupuncture. Considering the role of NK cells in fighting off viral infections, this study does provide rationale for the use of acupuncture.

In another 2017 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, rats were dosed with DMBA (dimethylbenzanthracene), a powerful carcinogen and immune system depressor that is often used to generate cancer and damage DNA in test animals. The researchers arrived at the conclusion that the rats who received acupuncture exhibited elevated levels of NK cells compared to control groups. The acupuncture point Stomach 36 (Zusanli) which is located laterally just below the patella was used in both animal and human studies. 

At Back in Motion Chiropractic and Acupuncture in Daphne, our doctor has 20 years of experience in effective needling techniques designed to improve immune system function. Traditional acupuncture has long focused on the theory of prevention and pre-conditioning with acupuncture treatments before symptoms present. If you are looking for an effective and safe way to enhance your immune system, call our office at 251-621-2224 for more information or to schedule.

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