Study Shows Acupuncture Regulates the Eyes and Vision

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Study Shows Acupuncture Regulates the Eyes and Vision

While we in the field of acupuncture know that it works because we see the results every day and have extensively studied the archives dating back thousands of years of Chinese medicine, it is always cool when a new study demonstrates not only that, but how,  acupuncture works. This study is citing the affects of a common acupuncture point on the outer ankle, Urinary Bladder (UB) 60, for improving vision.

This study compared the results of real and sham acupuncture on stimulating areas of the brain associated with the eyes. In the real acupuncture only, stimulation of UB 60 regulated the visual areas of the brain. As this report says, “The amazing correlation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to biomedicine is that UB60 has been indicated for the treatment of vision and hearing disorders, respectively, for over 1,000 years.”

While treating eye disorders is not among my specialties, there are countless times over the years when I have seen the affects of acupuncture myself in improving vision. In many cases, these patients were in the clinic for other issues, but after their treatments I would hear things like, “Could this just be my imagination, or would this be having an affect on my vision?  I normally wouldn’t be able to read that sign over there on your wall from here without my glasses, but I can see it perfectly”. Or, “Since my brain injury my vision has been extremely blurry, but for several days after my treatments, it’s way more clear”.

The bladder channel specifically reaches up to the eyes, traveling all the way from the front of the face, over the head, down the back and to the toes. It passes through the outer ankle, and so when we stimulate the energy of that point with an acupuncture needle, it send electrical currents up through the entire body and to the eyes.  Because of its passage through the entire back, this point is also notoriously beneficial for back pain anywhere along the back.

But it’s one thing to read it in my medical books and see it in my practice, and another to see an MRI reading showing that when this point is needled, areas in the brain related to the eyes are responding to that little needle I inserted in the ankle. It is extremely satisfying to see the medical community opening up to the benefits of acupuncture as more and more studies like this are done.