Alexandre Hillairet, DAOM.
Thanks and all the best!
*The Rainbow and the Worm* is a book I would recommend if you have interest in this study. First published over 20 years ago, it is Mae Wan Ho's initial attempt to answer the questions posed by the Nobel Laureate Erwin Schrödinger in *What is Life?*. Often regarded as the founder of quantum theory, probably Schrödinger's most important question was "How can the events in space and time which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?" His emphasis on genes inspired the discovery that DNA held some clue to the puzzle. Ho's insight is that life is not a thing or a structure, but a process. Instead it is an organizing wholeness, whereby all of the molecules of the body interact together in correlated synchronized union, achieving a state of quantum coherence.
I hope that by researching her published works you may someday come to an answer to your question, and I hope that my help in this matter was useful to you. In the meantime, regardless of how the human body works, even those who make pain medications cannot fully explain the mechanism by which their products affect the body's pain signals. Your question dives right into the heart of "What makes life work?". Whoever answers this will do very well for themselves, and all of mankind, I am sure.
Without a detailed explanation of the physiological processes involved, we do know from animal studies and some functional MRI studies on humans that acupuncture does produce certain physiological effects on the body and it is not simply a placebo effect that eliminates pain. Current studies show acupuncture activates chemical messengers, endogenous opioid mechanisms, and may stimulate gene expression of neuropeptides. Recent data, obtained by using functional magnetic resonance imaging, suggest that acupuncture has regionally specific, quantifiable effects on relevant brain structures. I would invite you to do a search for yourself using the database found here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov as the literature on these studies is extensive.
Ultimately, however, it is helpful to know that acupuncture is only one of the tools that a competent Doctor of Chinese Medicine can use to treat disease. Herbal remedies, moxibustion, and exercises like Tai Chi and Qi Gong are also important tools for health, which should not be overlooked. Chinese Medicine is a complete system that is capable of treating all manner of injury or illness. That being said, the World Health Organization has summarized a comprehensive list of conditions for which there is sufficient clinical research demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture. That list has been constantly updated since 2003. You can find the current one here:
It helps by regulating the body's own internal healing mechanisms and communication between the body's functional systems.
By helping the body regulate itself and function more efficiently the body then starts to heal itself as nature intends and function more properly this relieving ailments and sicknesses.
It takes a 4 year medical training to learn the basics and become a competent practitioner, then a lifetime to perfect.
It helps people stay healthy in not only a physical way but an emotional, psychological and spiritual sense too.
Acupuncture is the insertion, manipulation and removal of very fine, filiform (solid) needles at particular points on the body with the aim of affecting some health condition.
How it helps is a very complicated question. A complete answer would require us to have a discussion about: holography, fractals, physics, embryology, anatomy and physiology, the structure and composition of connective tissues, cell biology, systems theory, and how living organisms utilize information.
The bottom line is: there are measurable biochemical effects which occur as a result of needle insertion and, often, these biochemical changes depend on the nature of the health condition under treatment and which acupuncture points were stimulated.