Difference between a acupuncture point and a non-acupuncture point
Western medicine has done a lot of anatomical and physiological research on meridians and acupuncture points in Chinese medicine.
For example, a postmortem study by Langevin published in the Journal of Anatomy in 2002 found that the correlation index between acupuncture points and inter- or intramuscular connective tissue layers was as high as 80%. They also noted that when acupuncture points are needled, the silver needle histologically passes through the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and deep fascial layers.
In contrast, when needling non-acupuncture points, the needles pass through the skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscle, and bone, but rarely through the deep fascia. When the needle pierces the deep fascia layer, it produces the phenomenon known in Chinese medicine as “de qi(getting the energy)”.
However, the relationship between this phenomenon and the therapeutic effect is still unclear. The ultrasonography technique observed that this “de qi” phenomenon is due to the deep fascia “holding” the silver needle and not allowing it to be pulled out. Johansson found as early as 1976 that the body surface temperature was significantly higher at acupuncture points than at non-acupuncture points, and the skin resistance was significantly lower than at non-acupuncture points.
All these anatomical and histological physical data have led the medical community to speculate that the physical phenomena produced by traditional Chinese acupuncture have led to a series of biological reactions in the body, such as genetic epigenesis and protein synthesis. The results of random acupuncture at non-acupuncture points may not be the same due to the different physiophysical phenomena.
Acupuncture can release muscle as well as regulate nerves
In terms of the mechanism of acupuncture pain relief, a large number of studies have demonstrated that acupuncture pain relief works by modulating the pain domain of muscles and microscopic nerves. These nerves transmit information to the spinal cord and then activate neurons in the spinal cord, brainstem (periaqueductal gray matter), and hypothalamus, thereby activating the endogenous opioid system and providing analgesia.
Several studies have shown that the original analgesic effect of acupuncture disappears when animals are given naloxone (a drug that counteracts endogenous opiates), which is controversial but indirectly proves that acupuncture pain relief is achieved by activating the endogenous opiate system.
For a long time, the Western medical community has questioned whether acupuncture must be performed according to the traditional Chinese medical meridians, or whether it can be done randomly. This is because many people believe that the effects of acupuncture are psychological. Recent advances in medical research equipment have made it easier to answer this question.
Brain scans show areas of brain suppression caused by acupuncture
The effects of acupuncture on the brain nerves
The invention of functional magnetic resonance imaging (Functional MRI) has led scientists to discover that acupuncture has specific, measurable effects on relevant areas of the human brain. A recent study found that shining a light into a person’s eyes resulted in a signal seen in the occipital lobe of the brain, and the same signal was seen in the same area when acupuncture was applied to the Guangming point on the lateral side of the foot, but the same signal response was not seen if the skin near the Guangming point was randomly needled.
And in early 2006, the BBC reported that scientists at the Hull York Medical School in the United Kingdom had performed deep and superficial needling of the Hegu acupuncture point on a group of volunteers and found that deep needling with long needles activated the anterior inferior neural channels, thereby inhibiting the activity of the limbic areas of the brain involved in the pain response (see figure on the left), resulting in pain relief.
However, this inhibition was not seen with shallow pricks. All these experiments, together with the anatomical and physiological studies mentioned earlier, demonstrate that acupuncture in traditional Chinese medicine does not work psychologically, but has a measurable physiological and anatomical basis. the different results from the deep and shallow acupuncture studies at the Hull York Medical School also indirectly demonstrate that the tonic and diaphoretic acupuncture methods mentioned in traditional Chinese medicine may not be true.