The objective of this study was to assess differences in brain responses between pressure and acupuncture stimulation at the same acupoint using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
A total of 10 healthy right-handed volunteers were studied.
fMRI was performed with two different paradigms; namely, pressure and acupuncture stimulation at acupuncture points LI11 and ST36 on the left. fMRI data were analyzed using SPM2.
In comparison with the left LI11 pressure stimulation, both sides of the parahippocampal gyrus, cerebellum, left side of thalamus, and right side of posterior cingulate regions were more activated by the left LI11 acupuncture stimulation. In comparison with the left ST36 pressure stimulation, the secondary motor cortex, limbic system (cingulate gyrus, posterior cingulate), primary visual cortex, pons, and medulla regions were more activated by left ST36 acupuncture stimulation. In comparison with the left ST36 pressure stimulation, both side of BA 4 and BA 6 were more activated by the LI11 pressure stimulation. In comparison with the left LI11 acupuncture stimulation, left BA 6, BA 8, and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) were more activated by the left ST36 acupuncture stimulation.
In conclusion, brain signal activation patterns according to the stimulation methods and acupoints were observed to differ. Acupuncture stimulation activated more regions than pressure at the same acupoint. In particular, acupuncture stimulation activated the limbic system, such as the parahippocampal gyrus and ACC.
"According to Song et al. , who used SPECT to investigate the effect of the ST36 acupoint, acupuncture at right ST36 increased the regional CBF in the left anterior temporal lobe, right inferior frontal lobe, and left cerebellum. Further, Cho et al.  used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show that acupuncture stimulation at left ST36 displayed significantly higher activation in the left frontoparietal lobe, right occipital lobe, right cerebellar lobe, and right pons, compared to pressure stimulation at left ST36. These previous studies indicate that ST36 increases the CBF in both MCA territories and the BA territory, which is consistent with the results of the present study. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study was conducted to verify the effect of acupuncture on cerebral haemodynamics to provide evidence for the use of acupuncture treatment as a complementary therapy for the high-risk stroke population. The effect of ST36 acupuncture treatment on the hyperventilation-induced CO2 reactivity of the basilar and middle cerebral arteries was studied in 10 healthy male volunteers (mean age, 25.2 ± 1.5 years) using a transcranial Doppler sonography with an interval of 1 week between measurements, and a portable ECG monitoring system was used to obtain ECG data simultaneously. The CO2 reactivity of the basilar and middle cerebral arteries increased significantly after ST36 acupuncture treatment, whereas the mean arterial blood pressure and pulse rate did not change significantly. The high-frequency power significantly increased after ST36 acupuncture treatment, and the percentage increase of high-frequency power correlated significantly with the percentage increase in the CO2 reactivity of the contralateral middle cerebral artery. These data suggest that ST36 acupuncture treatment increases CO2 reactivity, indicating improvement of vasodilatory potential of the cerebral vasculature to compensate for fluctuations caused by changes in external conditions. The increase in parasympathetic tone by ST36 acupuncture treatment is responsible for this therapeutic effect.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 07/2014; 2014:574986. DOI:10.1155/2014/574986 · 1.88 Impact Factor
"Several human fMRI studies have also shown that acupuncture needling affects brain activation. The relationship between acupoint and correspondent brain location has been discussed  , and different methods of stimulation such as tactile acupuncture or superficial pricking are associated with specific brain activation  . These results of neuronal activation suggest that acupuncture may be related to autonomic, cognitive, and affective functions, as well as sensorimotor control with connections to the cerebrum, brainstem, and other areas [8, 9, 11–13]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to differentiate between pain-related and pain-unrelated neural responses of acupuncture at BL60 to investigate the specific effects of acupuncture. A total of 19 healthy volunteers were evaluated. fMRI was performed with sham or verum acupuncture stimulation at the left BL60 before and after local anesthesia. To investigate the relative BOLD signal effect for each session, a one-sample t-test was performed for individual contrast maps, and a paired t-test to investigate the differences between the pre- and post-anesthetic signal effects. Regarding verum acupuncture, areas that were more activated before local anesthesia included the superior, middle, and medial frontal gyri, inferior parietal lobule, superior temporal gyrus, thalamus, middle temporal gyrus, cingulate gyrus, culmen, and cerebellar tonsil. The postcentral gyrus was more deactivated before local anesthesia. After local anesthesia, the middle occipital gyrus, inferior temporal gyrus, postcentral gyrus, precuneus, superior parietal lobule, and declive were deactivated. Pre-anesthetic verum acupuncture at BL60 activated areas of vision and pain transmission. Post-anesthetic verum acupuncture deactivated brain areas of visual function, which is considered to be a pain-unrelated acupuncture response. It indicates that specific effects of acupoint BL60 are to control vision sense as used in the clinical setting.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 06/2013; 2013(8):804696. DOI:10.1155/2013/804696 · 1.88 Impact Factor
"Test for overall effect: Z = 2.15 (p = 0.03) Fig. 2. Comparison of acupressure versus sham acupressure in posttreatment sleep questionnaire score. did at the limbic system, such as the parahippocampal gyrus and the anterior cingulate cortex  . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have shown that acupuncture may be efficacious for insomnia. Instead of needling, acupressure, reflexology, and auricular acupressure are procedures involving physical pressure on acupoints or reflex areas. These variants of acupuncture are gaining popularity, perhaps due to their non-invasive nature. A systematic review has therefore been conducted to examine their efficacy and safety for insomnia. Two independent researchers searched five English and 10 Chinese databases from inception to May 2010. Forty RCTs were identified for analysis. Only 10 studies used sham controls, four used double-blind design, nine studies scored three or more by the Jadad scale, and all had at least one domain with high risk of bias. Meta-analyses of the moderate-quality RCTs found that acupressure as monotherapy fared marginally better than sham control. Studies that compared auricular acupressure and sham control showed equivocal results. It was also found that acupressure, reflexology, or auricular acupressure as monotherapy or combined with routine care was significantly more efficacious than routine care or no treatment. Owing to the methodological limitations of the studies and equivocal results, the current evidence does not allow a clear conclusion on the benefits of acupressure, reflexology, and auricular acupressure for insomnia.
Sleep Medicine 07/2012; 13(8):971-84. DOI:10.1016/j.sleep.2012.06.003 · 3.15 Impact Factor
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