In the last few years we achieved better clinical results by injecting sterile homeopathic remedies into acupoints, as compared with simple acupuncture alone, or homeopathic treatment alone (including injection of homeopathic remedies into sham acupoints), or injection of saline to acupoints (1, 2). We would like address the rationale behind our particular strategy.
Injection of specific homeopathic remedies stimulates an immunological bystander reaction (3, 4). In-situ macrophages phagocytise the minute quantities of injected ingredients in amounts too small to produce a complete immunological reaction. After phagocytosis, the macrophages return molecules of the ingested substances to their surface. These molecules (motifs) are bound to membrane-related Major Histocompatibilty Complexes (MHC's) on the macrophages. Nearby na´ve and undifferentiated lymphocytes (Th0) recognize the motifs, remove them from the macrophage, and bind them to their own receptors. This specific action is a signal for Th0 transformation to regulatory lymphocyte (Th3), a committed lymphocyte. The Th3 cells wander into regional lymph nodes, and via cell division multiply to many "motivated and committed" cell clones. Via blood vessels, these leave the lymph nodes and reach all organs and tissues. The indicated motifs facilitate an increased penetration of the Th3 cells into the relevant area. Chemotactic factors (complement factors, chemokines etc.) from the inflamed area support this organo/histotropy. As soon as Th3 reaches the target organ (recognition, similarity between their motifs and the target cells organ), Th3 cells immediately start to synthesise Transforming Growth Factor- beta (TGF-beta, the body's most potent antiinflammatory cytokine) and start inducing Th2 to release interleukin- 4 and 10, which support the effect of TGF-beta. This stops inflammatory processes and regenerates normal tissue.
Also, acupoints have significantly higher concentrations of mast cells than sham points in control areas (5). Mechanically, by causing local microtrauma, acupuncture per se stimulates the mast cells in-situ to release their mediators (6). These active mediators, including histamines, cause many local changes, such as phagocytosis (7). The released mediators also cause vasodilation, increase capillary permeability, and trigger a cascade reaction. These induce migration of monocytes from the blood vessels into the local tissue. Once they gain access to the extravascular space, the monocytes become macrophages and further enhance phagocytosis, a reaction of great importance in the bystander reaction. Phagocytic activity of monocytes was increased even before the migration to the local tissue (8). Therefore the acupunctured area serves as an amplifier for the bystander reaction.
Documented acupuncture effects on immunological responses include increase in white blood cell counts, especially T cells (9, 10, 11) and attraction by chemotaxis of these cells to the punctured area, again, causing T cells to react to the presented motifs on the macrophages. Once the primary Th3 cells are motivated, they begin to clone themselves in the lymph nodes. X-ray microscopy and electrophoretic studies of acupoints indicate direct pathways from the acupoint to the nearest lymph node (12, 13), again providing the best possible terrain to induce the bystander reaction.
As described before, tissue healing involves the synchronized operation of many factors and processes, some operating in concert and others in sequence. In order to induce tissue healing, synchrony of the set of processes occurring in the diseased/injured tissue is essential. In the hand of an animal therapist, the interdisciplinary synergism of homeopathy and acupuncture is like the conductor's baton to induce a synchronised harmonious symphony named: "Tissue Homeostasis and Restoration".
We call our medical methodology: "Bio-Zoo-Acupuncture" (B-ZAP). "BIO" infers biological remedies, selected to meet the animal's special need (therefore "ZOO"), and injected at the relevant acupoints - therefore, "ACUPUNCTURE". Thus, B-ZAP is a methodology to synergise veterinary acupuncture with veterinary homeopathy for the benefit of animals.