Autoimmune diseases occur when the body attacks itself. More specifically, the immune system attacks the tissues of the body. There are more than 80 chronic illnesses related to autoimmune disorders. Clinical research has shown that acupuncture causes physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure, body temperature and the immune system.