Although acupuncture sensation (also known as de qi) is a cornerstone of traditional acupuncture therapy, most research has accepted the traditional method of defining acupuncture sensation only through subjective patient reports rather than on any quantifiable physiological basis.
To preliminarily investigate the frequency of key sensations experienced while needling to specific, quantifiable tissue levels (TLs) guided by ultrasound (US) imaging.
Five participants received needling at two acupuncture points and two control points at four TLs. US scans were used to determine when each TL was reached. Each volunteer completed 32 sets of modified Southampton Needle Sensation Questionnaires. Part one of the study tested sensations experienced at each TL and part two compared the effect of oscillation alone versus oscillation+rotation.
In all volunteers, the frequency of pricking, sharp sensations was significantly greater in shallower TLs than deeper (p=0.007); the frequency of sensations described as deep, dull and heavy, as spreading, and as electric shocks was significantly greater in deeper TLs than shallower (p=0.002). Sensations experienced did not significantly differ between real and control points within each of three TLs (p>0.05) except TL 4 (p=0.006). The introduction of needle rotation significantly increased deep, dull, heavy sensations, but not pricking and sharp sensations; within each level, the spectrum of sensation experienced during both oscillation+rotation and oscillation alone did not significantly differ between acupuncture and control points.
The preliminary study indicates a strong connection between acupuncture sensation and both tissue depth and needle rotation. Furthermore, the new methodology has been proven feasible. A further study with an objective measurement is warranted.
"Researchers using functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) to test mild cognitive impairment found that deep muscle insertion of acupuncture is necessary to achieve appreciable clinical effects [1–3]. Others have used ultrasound scans to guide the specific depth for achieving acupuncture sensation . Such findings correspond to the Layer Analysis as described in the Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The research on acupuncture has increased steadily over the years and regular review and revision of the direction of future acupuncture research are necessary. This paper aims to review and explore the significance of acupuncture depth in modern acupuncture research. Searches conducted in Science Direct and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) databases reflected a lack of focus on depth of acupuncture. We propose that the research trends of acupuncture should progress to the depth of insertion. It is suggested that future acupuncture research, especially randomized controlled trials (RCTs), should take into consideration the depth of insertion. Comparison between databases using different language of medium suggests the need for international collaboration of researchers from the same field. It is also crucial to inherit and innovate traditional medicine (TM) through modern technology. The use of bibliometric method is also suitable for development of TM research trends. Acupuncture and depth should be considered as one of the future directions of acupuncture research.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 07/2014; 2014(2):871217. DOI:10.1155/2014/871217 · 1.88 Impact Factor
"Interestingly, only for TRPV1, a very thin layer at the margin of the muscle beneath the epimysium which exhibited even higher expression was discovered (Figure 4A). This is rather interesting because acupuncture sensation (de-qi) is stronger just after the needle tip enters the perimuscular fascia (epimysium) . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acupuncture is a therapy that involves applying mechanical stimulation to acupoints using needles. Although acupuncture is believed to trigger neural regulation by opioids or adenosine, still little is known about how physical stimulation is turned into neurological signaling. The transient receptor potential vanilloid receptors 1 and 4 (TRPV1 and TRPV4) and the acid-sensing ion channel 3 (ASIC3) are regarded as mechanosensitive channels. This study aimed to clarify their role at the Zusanli acupoint (ST36) and propose possible sensing pathways linking channel activation to neurological signaling.
First, tissues from different anatomical layers of ST36 and the sham point were sampled, and channel expressions between the two points were compared using western blotting. Second, immunofluorescence was performed at ST36 to reveal distribution pattern of the channels. Third, agonist of the channels were injected into ST36 and tested in a mouse inflammatory pain model to seek if agonist injection could replicate acupuncture-like analgesic effect. Last, the components of proposed downstream sensing pathway were tested with western blotting to determine if they were expressed in tissues with positive mechanosensitive channel expression.
The results from western blotting demonstrated an abundance of TRPV1, TRPV4, and ASIC3 in anatomical layers of ST36. Furthermore, immunofluorescence showed these channels were expressed in both neural and non-neural cells at ST36. However, only capsaicin, a TRPV1 agonist, replicated the analgesic effect of acupuncture when injected into ST36. Components of calcium wave propagation (CWP, the proposed downstream sensing pathway) were also expressed in tissues with abundant TRPV1 expression, the muscle and epimysium layers.
The results demonstrated mechanosensitive channel TRPV1 is highly expressed at ST36 and possibly participated in acupuncture related analgesia. Since CWP was reported by other to occur during acupuncture and its components were shown here to express in tissues with positive TRPV1 expression. These findings suggest TRPV1 might act as acupuncture-responding channel by sensing physical stimulation from acupuncture and conducting the signaling via CWP to nerve terminals. This study provided a better understanding between physical stimulation from acupuncture to neurological signaling.
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 03/2014; 14(1):96. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-14-96 · 2.02 Impact Factor
"So needling on the tendon layer may induce more sensations of aching, soreness, distention, and warmth . Related research demonstrated that stabbing pain and sharp pain were more obvious on the shallow layer while dull, heaviness, radiating, and electric sensation were much easier to be induced on the deeper layer than the shallow layer, which elucidated that the deeper layer could excite more Deqi sensation . Based on these researches, length of the needle and the insertion depth were considered as stimulation factors. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. Deqi sensation is a complex but an important component for acupuncture effect. In this study, we tried to observe the relationship between Deqi and skin temperature changes and whether there was some relativity between Deqi and needle stimulations on cold congealing and dysmenorrhea rat model. Thirty-two female Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into four groups (Saline Control Group, Model Group, Group A with strong stimulation, and Group B with small stimulation). Group A and Group B were performed with different stimulations. We found that, compared with saline control group, model group, and Group B, Group A showed that the skin temperature changes on right acupoint SP6 and SP10 increased significantly at 5 min-10 min interval. The skin temperature changes on left SP6 decreased at instant-5 min interval. The skin temperature changes on right SP10 decreased significantly at instant-5 min interval and 10 min-20 min interval. Thermogenic action along Spleen Meridian of Foot Greater Yin was manifested as simultaneous skin temperature increase on right SP6 and SP10 at 5 min-10 min interval after needling SP6, which was helpful to illustrate the relationship between the characteristic of Deqi and needle stimulations.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 02/2014; 2014:595963. DOI:10.1155/2014/595963 · 1.88 Impact Factor
Data provided are for informational purposes only. Although carefully collected, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The impact factor represents a rough estimation of the journal's impact factor and does not reflect the actual current impact factor. Publisher conditions are provided by RoMEO. Differing provisions from the publisher's actual policy or licence agreement may be applicable.