Psychoneurobiomodulation: an emerging concept to understand the systemic effects of neurophysiological acupuncture

Salvador Quiroz-González, Agnese Olivera Toro, Yolanda García Piceno, Ismael Jiménez-Estrada, Rubén Fossion


Acupuncture is a therapeutic approach that emerged from traditional Chinese medicine. The World Health Organization recommends the use of acupuncture for the treatment of a wide variety of diseases. Experimental evidence suggests that the working mechanism of acupuncture may include the activation of multiple regulatory systems in the organism including the nervous system. In the present article we propose the concept of psychoneurobiomodulation to describe the local and systemic effects of acupuncture treatment. The concept emerges from current evidence for changes produced by acupuncture in the area of needle insertion (biomodulation), in distinct areas of the central nervous system (neuromodulation), as well as the modification of neural networks related to psychological responses, such as affective states, behavior, and higher brain functions (psychoneuromodulation). This concept could also be applied to include interventions of systemic modulation that have as an objective the restoration of balance in the organism in situations of stress or illness.