J Tradit Chin Med. 2015 Dec;35(6):709-17 
By Xiao D. 


Acupuncture has been commonly used as an adjuvant therapy or monotherapy in the treatment of Parkinson's disease in China and in other countries. Animal studies have consistently show that this treatment is both neuroprotective, protecting dopaminergic neurons from degeneration and also restorative, restoring tyrosine hydroxylase positive dopaminergic terminals in striatum, resulting in improvements in motor performance in animal models of Parkinsonism. Studies show that this protection is mediated through the same common mechanisms as other neuroprotective agents, including anti-oxidative stress, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic pathways at molecular and cellular levels. Restoration of function seems to involve activation of certain compensatory brain regions as a mechanism at the network level to correct the imbalances to the nervous system resulting from loss of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra. Clinical studies in China and Korea, in particular, have shown a positive benefit of acupuncture in treating Parkinson's disease, especially in reducing the doses of dopaminergic medications and the associated side effects. However, large and well-controlled clinical trials are still needed to further demonstrate the efficacy and effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.