The basal electrical skin resistance of acupuncture points in normal subjects

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Yonsei Medical Journal (Impact Factor: 1.29). 01/1995; 35(4):464-74. DOI: 10.3349/ymj.1994.35.4.464
Source: PubMed


The inhibitory component of the skin against given electrical current, also called as the electrical skin resistance, is subject to change in response to many factors, especially pain. In order to find out more definite relationship between pain and skin resistance, one should make measurement in the state devoid of any external disturbing stimuli to get the "basal skin resistance (BSR)", which is known to be different from point to point on body surface. Also, the "active points" have more consistent BSR characters than other points and most of them share same locations with "acupuncture points" which is easy to localize accurately and repeatedly in normal subject. Therefore, the comparison of BSR of certain acupuncture points of normal subject and pain-suffering subjects is expected to be able to figure out any pain-induced BSR changes. Our measurement at 16 acupuncture points (asymmetrical 8 pairs) of 10 normal subjects showed inconsistently asymmetrical distribution of the BSR values with significant order among themselves including left SP (spleen)-6 at their lowest position, but neither the measuring system itself nor any of the 16 points was statistically reliable enough for diagnostic purposes. So the measuring device needs to be improved with after evolution, and more acupuncture points need to be explored to complete our pain-related BSR map. In addition, the meaning of the above BSR distribution pattern is waiting to be explained through such efforts.

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    • "No method of determining acupuncture point locations has yet been shown to be precise, or repeatable. Electrical skin resistance, which can be detected by various devices, has been shown to be an inaccurate and unreliable method of locating acupuncture points and is influenced by factors such as the shape and surface area of the electrode, dryness of the skin, local variations in skin thickness, surface secretions, pressure placed on the electrode, inclination of the electrode, electrode gel used, scanning speed of the device, and even room temperature and humidity (Noordergraaf and Silage 1973; Yamamoto and Yamamoto 1977; Yamamoto et al. 1988; Cho and Chun 1994; Kwok et al. 1998; Hot et al. 1999). "
    01/2010; 17(2):106 - 112. DOI:10.1111/j.2042-3292.2005.tb00347.x
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    • "After obtaining and reading the full texts, we identified 50 articles that actively measured electrical parameters at the skin. Of these articles, 10 were excluded due to lack of a control [Nakatani, 1956, 1986; Nakatani and Yamashita, 1977; Motoyama et al., 1984; Motoyama, 1986; Ionescutirgoviste et al., 1987; Cho and Chun, 1994; Comunetti et al., 1995; Cheng et al., 2000; Fang et al., 2004]; 16 were excluded due to poor quality as defined by a quality score of less than three out of possible ten points [Bergsmann and Woolley-Hart, 1973; Noordergraaf and Silage, 1973; Brown et al., 1974; Ghaznavi, 1974; Roppel and Mitchell, 1975; Becker, 1976; Shenberger, 1977; Eory, 1984; Zhu et al., 1984; Croley, 1986; Nansel and Jansen, 1988; Zhu et al., 1988; Chen, 1996; Eickhorn and Schimmel, 1999; Lu et al., 1999; Halek, 2000]; and 6 were excluded for using electrical parameters to initially define acupuncture points or meridians [Wulfson and Warren, 1976; Prokhorov et al., 2000a,b, 2006; Lee et al., 2003; Zhang et al., 2004]. Sixteen articles representing 18 studies were maintained in the review and evaluated in detail. "
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    ABSTRACT: According to conventional wisdom within the acupuncture community, acupuncture points and meridians are special conduits for electrical signals. This view gained popularity after anecdotal reports and clinical studies asserted that these anatomical structures are characterized by lower electrical impedance compared to adjacent controls. To ascertain whether evidence exists to support or refute this claim, we conducted a systematic review of studies directly evaluating the electrical characteristics of acupuncture structures and appropriate controls. We searched seven electronic databases until August 2007, hand-searched references, and consulted technical experts. We limited the review to primary data human studies published in English. A quality scoring system was created and employed for this review. A total of 16 articles representing 18 studies met inclusion criteria: 9 examining acupuncture points and 9 examining meridians. Five out of 9 point studies showed positive association between acupuncture points and lower electrical resistance and impedance, while 7 out of 9 meridian studies showed positive association between acupuncture meridians and lower electrical impedance and higher capacitance. The studies were generally poor in quality and limited by small sample size and multiple confounders. Based on this review, the evidence does not conclusively support the claim that acupuncture points or meridians are electrically distinguishable. However, the preliminary findings are suggestive and offer future directions for research based on in-depth interpretation of the data.
    Bioelectromagnetics 05/2008; 29(4):245-56. DOI:10.1002/bem.20403 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    • "Although in these methods, the skin conductivity is taken into account, the effect of skin resistance or impedance is not investigated (Shankar et al., 2009; Weng et al., 2004, 2005). The inhibitory component of the skin against a given electrical current is called the electrical skin resistance (Cho and Chun, 1994). Skin resistance has been used since 1930s to determine sites of pathological conditions and is defined as the resistance offered to the passage of an electrical current (direct current) through the skin (Richter and Katz, 1943; Riley and Richter, 1975). "
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    ABSTRACT: The patient's low back pain can be determined using the visual analog scale (VAS) as subjective methods. This study aims to design a device used in evaluating low back pain objectively, by measuring skin resistance. To test the developed system, 8 low back pain (experimental group) and 8 healthy (control group) subjects were admitted in Dumlupinar University, Medical Faculty, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation services. The skin resistance of all the subjects has been measured from their back using both the DC and the AC supplies. The skin resistance of the experimental group before the treatment and at the end of 15 days of the treatment was measured. The results of the treatment of the experimental group before and after treatment have been found to be statistically significant (p < 0.05). The measured skin resistance values were found to be statistically significant, when compared to the control and the experimental groups (p < 0.05). As a result of these findings, the developed system can be used to objectively determine low back pain by measuring skin resistance.
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