Acupuncture Points Proven to Exist in Scientific Study!
It seems that science has finally been able to “see” and therefore acknowledge the existence of acupuncture points!
In some exciting studies that were recently done, researchers used CT scans on the body to measure the difference between acupuncture and non-acupuncture points.
The resulting images showed that there are marked differences between the locations that acupuncturists mapped out long ago—and which are now used in acupuncture treatment—and non acupuncture points.
Further, it was noted that the acupuncture points have a higher density of “micro-vessels, and contain a large amount of involuted microvascular structures”, which are not seen at non-acupuncture point locations.
As said on this Health CMI website article: “The acupuncture points ST36 (Zusanli) and ST37 (Shangjuxu) were shown to have very distinct structural differences than surrounding areas. At the acupuncture points, microvascular densities with bifurcations ‘can be clearly seen around thick blood vessels’ but non-acupuncture point areas showed few thick blood vessels and none showed fine, high density structures. The acupuncture points contained fine structures with more large blood vessels that are several dozen micrometers in size plus beds of high density vascularization of vessels 15-50 micrometers in size. This structure was not found in non-acupuncture point areas.”
While this is exciting research that leads the way to more acceptance of the healing affects of acupuncture, the researchers also noted that these results are not new: studies using MRI technology, infrared imaging, LCD thermal photography, ultrasound, and others, have previously also confirmed the existence of acupuncture points.
How I explain how acupuncture works to my patients: Acupuncture 101
The theory behind acupuncture states that our body is composed of what we call Qi (energy), and that this energy can be manipulated for therapeutic responses. We use energy conductors, or rather metal (needles), to engage and harness that energy, causing it to flow through the channels that we call Meridians.
When flowing in a healthful way, it circuits through the entire body, reaching all the tissues and organs. When blocked, there is pain and dysfunction in whatever organ systems are involved.
The energy in our bodies flows similarly to the electricity in the wires that supply our appliances and lights
When people come to their first appointment with me, if they’ve never tried acupuncture and aren’t familiar with it, I’ll often do a little 2 minute “Acupuncture 101”, explaining the basics of how it works and what we’re going to be doing.
I start off by saying that our entire body is composed of energy, and that while this may sound woo woo and ‘out there’, Einstein summed it up wonderfully in the equation E = MC2.
Part of what this equation means is simply that all Matter (M) is made up of Energy (E). All matter, from the chairs we’re sitting on, to the table they’ll lie on, to the clothes we’re wearing and our bodies, is just densely compacted energy.
And the Chinese figured out that we can manipulate that energy in the body for a therapeutic result, using the energy conductors, or needles.
I then go on to explain that just like we can’t see the wires that flow with energy behind the walls, we can’t see the channels that flow with energy in our bodies. But we know those wires are hidden behind the walls and flowing with energy, because when we turn on our lights or appliances, they work.
What’s the first thing we do when an appliance or light doesn’t work? We check to make sure that it’s hooked up to its energy source, or plugged in.
Sometimes energy surges or other problems like pesky pets or earthquakes can break the electricity (energy) currents or wires, and the appliances stop working. In the same way, our organs and tissues rely on the free flow of energy, and when they don’t get it because it’s blocked for some reason or too depleted (stress, toxins, poor food and lifestyle choices, inherited diseases), they don’t function well.
So our job as acupuncturists is to get that energy flowing back to the tissues and organs. In that way, harmony is restored and the body functions improve.
All this kinda hard to imagine? Check out this wonderful image which reveals the acupuncture points
All this might be hard to imagine, but my most favorite study gives us an actual visual of these acupuncture points and channels, and helps us put into concrete terms this (now still thought of as) esoteric theory of energy flow and acupuncture points.
This particularly study is one using amperometric oxygen microsensors, and the final images show oxygen pressure variations at the locations of the acupuncture points, and along the channels that were mapped out centuries ago in China.
A recent post of mine outlined the affects of acupuncture on the areas of the brain responsible for regulating our stress, when acupuncture points that have been known to decrease stress were used. The areas of the brain associated with hormone regulation, and in particular upregulating or downregulating stress hormones, lit up when these calming points were needled.
So if you put these exciting studies all together, it is hard to continue denying the legitimate physiological and healing affects of the medicine.
More studies like this will help resolve doubt regarding acupuncture
These studies are paving the way for acupuncture to continue to be seen as the legitimate and effective medicine that it has been known to be for centuries in Asia.
Also, I will use this article showing its true scientific basis, as a foundation for future blog posts of mine, including one which discusses Christianity and Acupuncture, and whether they are at cross purposes. It will discuss a common question and concern among Christians, over whether acupuncture interferes with their Christian beliefs.
As acupuncture continues to be seen for its true basic functions, which alter body chemistry, function, and physiology—no different from western medicine—concerns like this and others will be able to be put to rest.
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