Nitric Oxide and Acupuncture
Nitric oxide is a molecule produced by your body known as a messenger molecule. It is a key regulator of local circulation because it causes vasodilation which is when the inner muscles of the blood vessels widen to increase circulation. Increased circulation results in blood, nutrients, and oxygen to more easily reach every part of your body. Studies have shown that acupuncture increases the nitric oxide levels of the treated area which increases local circulation. Because poor circulation can result in pain, the ability for acupuncture to increase nitric oxide levels and therefore local circulation is likely a contributing factor to its ability to relieve pain. Nitric oxide is a gasotransmitter, which are small gaseous molecules that function as neurotransmitters. Qì 氣 is often translated as energy, but is more correctly translated as steam, vapor, air, or gas. The human body contains all kinds of gasses, blood glasses, and oxygen in the blood. In Chinese medicine there is a phrase that "Qì is the commander of Blood (xuè 血), and Blood is the mother of Qì" (Qì wéi xuè shuài, xuè wéi qì mǔ (气为血帅, 血为气母)). This refers to the role of Qì to push the Blood and Bloods role of carrying Qì. This is fascinating when you realize that nitric oxide is a gaseous messenger molecule that promotes circulation ("Qì is the commander of Blood") which brings blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the local tissues ("Blood is the mother of Qì"). If Qì is too deficient or stagnated in Chinese medicine, Blood will also cease to properly circulate because it requires the motive power and warmth of Qì to circulate. "When Qì moves, Blood follows", "when Qì stagnates, Blood congeals".
In health and happiness,
Painting: Varieties of Lychee Fruit, Unidentified artist, Song dynasty
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