How Acupuncture Supports a Healthy Immune System

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How acupuncture supports a healthy immune system

A robust immune system, the body’s primary defense mechanism, is pivotal to living a healthy and vibrant life. It stands as an unyielding fortress, protecting the body from harmful pathogens and diseases. Yet, in this fast-paced world filled with stress, poor dietary habits, and environmental toxins, immune system health is often compromised, paving the way for various ailments.

In the quest for a natural and holistic approach to bolster immunity, acupuncture has emerged as a promising medical modality. Rooted in the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture targets specific points on the body, stimulating the body’s inherent healing mechanisms, strengthening the immune system, and promoting overall well-being.

In this article, we will explore the science behind acupuncture’s immune-boosting benefits. The journey to a healthier and stronger immune system may be just a needlepoint away.

Why Is a Strong Immune System Necessary?

Family with strong immunity

The immune system, a complex network of cells, organs, and tissues, orchestrates a remarkable defense mechanism against harmful microorganisms and foreign invaders. It is the body’s personal sentry, continuously monitoring and differentiating between the body’s own cells and foreign entities. When a threat is detected, an immune response is activated, mobilizing an army of white blood cells and antibodies to neutralize the threat and restore health.

Nonetheless, the efficiency of this intricate defense system can be undermined by several factors. Chronic stress, for instance, has been recognized as an immune system suppressor. It prompts the release of cortisol, a hormone that can inhibit the immune response when present in excessive amounts over an extended period.

A diet lacking in essential nutrients also poses a significant risk by depriving the immune system of the fuel required for optimal function. Environmental toxins, such as pollution and certain chemicals, can induce oxidative stress and inflammation, thereby weakening immune health.

Furthermore, lack of sleep and physical inactivity can also compromise the immune system, making the body increasingly susceptible to infections and diseases. It is, therefore, essential to address these factors and adopt proactive measures to bolster immune health.

Signs of Poor Immune System

Signs of poor immune system

Recognizing early signs of a weakened immune system is critical for proactive health management. The manifestation of frequent infections, particularly those that are recurrent or hard to shake off, maybe a strong indicator of compromised immunity. This includes:

  1. Frequent infections, especially recurrent or persistent ones like sinus infections, pneumonia, bronchitis, or ear infections.
  2. Slow wound healing, with wounds taking longer than usual to recover.
  3. Chronic fatigue is characterized by a constant and profound weariness that hampers daily activities and doesn’t improve with rest.
  4. Susceptibility to allergies, experiencing frequent allergic reactions such as itching, rash, or respiratory symptoms.

Why Early Recognition is Important?

Early recognition of these signs could pave the way for:

  1. Timely diagnosis of an underlying condition that might be causing poor immune health.
  2. Appropriate medical intervention, if required, to address the root cause and restore the body’s natural defense mechanisms.
  3. Proactive measures to strengthen immunity and prevent future infections or diseases.

How Acupuncture Boosts Immune Function

Herein lies the fascinating science linking acupuncture with immunity: the acupuncture points, often referred to as acupoints, are meticulously mapped out on the human body, each correlating with certain health functions.

Immunity-boosting acupoints

Acupuncture’s Impact on Immune Cells

When an acupuncturist inserts a hair-thin needle into these specific points, it is believed that the body’s immune response is stimulated. This stimulation triggers the release of immune cells and anti-inflammatory cytokines, aiding the body in its fight against pathogens and diseases.

Furthermore, acupuncture is seen to influence the body’s sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, resulting in a state of balance – a prerequisite for optimal immune function. Studies show that regular acupuncture treatments can increase the number of T-cells the body produces, which are instrumental in its immune response. Impressively, the benefits may linger for days after the treatment, providing ongoing support to the immune system.

The understanding and application of acupuncture for immune system support is indeed a testament to the depth and wisdom of ancient healing practices, providing a natural, non-invasive path to a robust and resilient immune system.

Acupuncture for Preventive Treatment

When it comes to preventive treatment, acupuncture emerges as a highly promising therapeutic approach. Acupuncture plays a vital role in nurturing overall well-being and protecting against potential health issues. By regulating the body’s natural functions, it promotes harmony and strength, effectively preventing the onset of diseases.

Regular acupuncture sessions are seen as a preventive health strategy that can equip the body with enhanced immunity and improved well-being. With the strategic placement of ultra-thin needles at key acupuncture points, it is possible to stimulate and enhance the body’s innate healing mechanisms, resulting in a fortified immune system, improved energy levels, and better stress management.

Acupuncture fosters a comprehensive approach to health that extends beyond mere symptom management, empowering individuals to take control of their health in a proactive manner.

Six Acupuncture Points That Boost the Immune System

Hegu acupoint

As we delve deeper into the profound influence of acupuncture on immune health, it is essential to highlight the four main acupuncture points known for their immune-boosting effects. Each of these points, when stimulated, initiates a cascade of physiological responses that enhance the body’s natural defenses.

  1. ST36 (Stomach 36 or Zusanli): Located on the lower leg, this point is revered in acupuncture for its vast range of health benefits, including its ability to strengthen the immune system. It is often utilized to fortify the Wei Qi, the protective energy that guards against external pathogens, making it an essential point for those seeking to bolster their immune resilience. Moreover, ST36 can alleviate fatigue, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being, contributing to a more robust immune response.
  2. LI4 (Large Intestine 4 or Hegu): Situated on the hand, between the thumb and index finger, LI4 is commonly used to eliminate external pathogens related to wind-cold or wind-heat syndromes. It also helps strengthen the body’s defensive energy (Wei Qi), enhance immunity, alleviate discomfort in the face and neck, and promote better circulation.
  3. LI11 (Large Intestine 11 or Quchi): Located at the elbow’s crease, this point is known to reduce inflammation and influence the body’s antiviral responses. This can be particularly beneficial in conditions characterized by an overactive immune response, such as allergies or autoimmune diseases.
  4. LU7 (Lung 7 or Lieque): the body’s response to respiratory pathogens, thereby bolstering the immune system. Additionally, LU7 is used during the early symptoms of a cold or flu, like chills, fever, congestion, sore throat, or cough.
  5. KI27 (Kidney 27 or Shufu): This point is located near the collarbone and is known for maintaining the health of the respiratory system. It is beneficial in relieving respiratory discomfort, including cough, wheezing, asthma, and chest tightness.
  6. GB20 (Gallbladder 20 or Fengchi): This point is situated at the base of the neck, a region known for its influence on brain functions. GB20 is especially beneficial for those suffering from chronic fatigue, as it restores energy levels and invigorates the body’s natural defenses.

It’s important to note that while these acupuncture points can provide significant benefits, they should be stimulated under the guidance of a licensed acupuncturist for safe and effective treatment.

Conditions Where Acupuncture Can Help Immunity

Acupuncture’s diverse therapeutic effects can be particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with a range of health conditions where immunity is compromised. 

  1. Autoimmune diseases: Acupuncture can provide relief for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus by regulating immune responses and reducing inflammation.
  2. Chronic stress: Acupuncture helps trigger the body’s relaxation response, reducing stress and its detrimental effects on the immune system.
  3. Chronic illnesses like cancer: Acupuncture not only alleviates treatment side effects but also improves immune function, enhancing the body’s ability to recover.

A study published by the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies showcased how regular acupuncture sessions over a period of three months noticeably improved immune function markers in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Acupuncture as Part of a Holistic Wellness Plan

Acupuncture is not just a standalone remedy but rather should be a pivotal part of your holistic wellness plan. It is centered around the philosophy of interconnectedness and balance, aiming to harmonize mind, body, and spirit. By activating the body’s innate healing capabilities, it aids in restoring this balance, thereby promoting physical health, mental clarity, and emotional stability.

Patient talking to acupuncturist

Its ability to elevate overall well-being and fortify the immune system makes it a powerful addition to any wellness regimen. Regular acupuncture treatments, coupled with a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques, can greatly enhance your journey toward optimal health.

Moreover, acupuncture can be seamlessly integrated with other health disciplines, such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, therapy, or conventional medicine, to provide a truly comprehensive healthcare approach. This integration signifies a progressive shift towards a more inclusive, patient-centered healthcare model where the focus is not just on disease management but on prevention, healing, and overall wellness.

By incorporating acupuncture into your wellness routine, you are investing in a proactive health strategy, empowering yourself toward a healthier, more vibrant life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Expect During an Acupuncture Session?

If you’re contemplating an acupuncture treatment for immune boosting, you might be wondering what to expect during a session. Here’s a brief overview:

  1. Initial Consultation: Your acupuncture session will begin with an in-depth consultation, where the acupuncturist will gather comprehensive information about your health history, lifestyle, and symptoms. This step aids the practitioner in tailoring a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and health goals.
  2. Physical Examination: The acupuncturist may examine your pulse and tongue, which are considered crucial diagnostic tools in acupuncture. They may even examine the site of your symptoms or palpate various acupuncture points.
  3. Needle Insertion: The key part of the session is the insertion of the acupuncture needles. The acupuncturist will insert these ultra-thin needles at specific acupoints on your body. Despite the use of needles, acupuncture is generally painless. You may feel a momentary prick when the needle is inserted, often followed by a sensation of warmth, heaviness, or tingling.
  4. Relaxation Period: Once all the needles are in place, you’ll be left to relax for 15 to 30 minutes. This is the period when the needles do their work. It is an ideal time for meditation, deep breathing, or simply resting.
  5. Needle Removal: After the designated time, the practitioner will remove the needles. Some people experience a surge of energy post-treatment, while others feel relaxed.
  6. Aftercare: Following the session, you might receive advice on lifestyle modifications or self-care practices to enhance the treatment’s effectiveness.
Acupuncture points

Remember, everyone’s experience with acupuncture is unique. It is normal to have questions or concerns prior to your first session, so do not hesitate to discuss these with your acupuncturist. They will guide you through the process, ensuring it is as comfortable and beneficial as possible.

Why Choosing a Qualified Acupuncturist Is Important?

Acupuncture is widely regarded as a safe procedure when performed by a trained and licensed practitioner. The use of sterile, single-use needles minimizes the risk of infection. Common side effects are usually mild, including soreness, minor bleeding, or bruising at the needle sites.

However, acupuncture might not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with a bleeding disorder or those taking blood thinners may have an increased risk of bleeding or bruising. Pregnant women should also notify their acupuncturist, as certain acupuncture points can stimulate labor.

While serious complications are rare, they can occur. These include damage to the organs if the needles are inserted too deeply or infection from unsterilized needles. Hence, it is crucial to seek treatment from a licensed and experienced acupuncturist.

When it comes to choosing an acupuncturist, it is crucial to take into account several key aspects, such as:

  • Certifications
  • Education and Training
  • Patient Reviews
  • Experience
  • Compatibility

It is crucial to find a practitioner who you are comfortable with. Thus, it’s important to find a practitioner who respects your comfort, listens to your concerns, and communicates clearly about treatment plans and expectations.

Remember, selecting an acupuncturist is a personal decision. It is advisable to meet with a practitioner, ask questions, and observe their practice before making a decision. This will ensure that you find an acupuncturist who best fits your needs and assists you effectively on your journey to improved health.

As always, it’s important to discuss any new treatments with your healthcare provider to understand the potential benefits and risks in the context of your overall health profile.


In conclusion, acupuncture serves as a powerful tool to bolster the immune system, pave the way for preventive health, and foster overall well-being. If you’re ready to experience the profound benefits of acupuncture and integrate it into your health routine, don’t hesitate to reach out today to schedule your first acupuncture session or call (831) 854-9060. Our team at Solis will be more than happy to assist you on your journey to optimal health and immune resilience. Take charge of your journey towards a healthier and more vibrant life.

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Lishanna Emmert, DAOM, L.Ac

Lishanna Emmert, DAOM, L.Ac

Dr. Emmert has been treating chronic pain for 15 years. After obtaining her Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, she went on to do a Doctoral Program through the Henan University In China, then a second Doctoral program in San Jose, CA. Lishanna has done certification programs in functional nutrition, whole food supplements for pain and sports injury, orthopedic acupuncture, and functional herbal medicine.