“Is that even real medicine?”
This was the question I got when I spoke to someone about Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM, and the ways I had surprisingly found it to help me with my health. Acupuncture, and TCM, are often regarded as inferior to western medical treatment, and have a rap for unproven claims since the acupuncture points were unidentifiable by science.
It appears that science may finally be able to visually verify the existence of these acupuncture points and meridians, (vessels within the body that conduct Chi, or what’s known as life force energy in Chinese Medicine, kind of like the wires in an electrical circuit), and the Chi areas within the human body.
Using a combination of imaging techniques and CT scans, (computerized tomography), researchers have observed concentrated points of microvascular structures that truly correspond to the map of acupuncture points created by Chinese energy doctors nearly 2000 years ago.
“In this study published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, researchers used in-line phase contrast CT imaging with synchrotron radiation on both non-acupuncture points and acupuncture points. The CT scans revealed clear distinctions between the non-acupuncture point and acupuncture point anatomical structures.
A CT (computerized tomography) scan is a series of X-rays used to create cross-sectional images. In this study published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, researchers used in-line phase contrast CT imaging with synchrotron radiation on both non-acupuncture points and acupuncture points. The CT scans revealed clear distinctions between the non-acupuncture point and acupuncture point anatomical structures… The CT scans have discovered that known acupuncture points within the body have a higher density of micro-vessels and contain a large amount of involuted microvascular structures.”
According to Chinese medicine, life force energy is carried throughout the body in this complex system of vessels known as Meridians, and follows the free flow of blood within the body. If the movement of blood is restricted within the body, then so is the movement of life force energy, thereby causing disharmony in the otherwise proper symbiotic functioning of the body’s organs.
The ancients had already discovered this flow.
The ancient art of Tai Chi and Qi Gong actually work to improve the vascular flow of blood in order to move that Chi more freely throughout the body. The effects: improved health and immunity, higher energy levels, and improved mental and emotional functioning.
This would appear to now be validated scientifically, since the research study concludes that acupuncture points have higher concentrations of micro-vessels near the surface of the skin. These points appear to be connected to locations within the body where more blood can be concentrated. They even state that the non-acupuncture points did not exhibit these properties. The acupuncture points ST36 (Zusanli) and ST37 (Shangjuxu) were specifically shown to have very distinct structural differences than surrounding areas.
Another truly unique finding were that acupuncture points exhibit special oxygen characteristics were in related studies using amperometric oxygen microsensors and revealed partial oxygen pressure variations which correspond with the energetic maps of the human body developed by the Chinese, who, without our modern technology of CT scans and images were able to derive this system of health and wellness which has benefitted millions of people over the years.
It’s pretty remarkable and would have Yellow Emporer (Huang Di), who is broadly accepted as the founder of Chinese medicine and acupuncture, beaming.
The first document that described an organized system of diagnosis and treatment which was recognized as acupuncture is The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, dating from about 100 BCE. The information is presented in the form of questions by the Emperor and learned replies from his minister, Chhi-Po. The text is likely to be a compilation of traditions handed down over centuries, presented in terms of the prevailing Taoist philosophy, and is still cited in support of particular therapeutic techniques. The concepts of channels (such as the meridians) in which the Chi flowed were also well known by that time, just as this new study reiterates today.
Therefore, acupuncture, with it’s rich history, seems it can now be given its due points here in the West as true healing, too.