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  • Review Article2022-06-30

    Exploring Acupuncture Actions in the Body and Brain

    In-Seon Lee, Younbyoung Chae*
    J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2022; 15(3): 157-162 https://doi.org/10.51507/j.jams.2022.15.3.157

    Abstract : Acupuncture’s actions have been explained by biomedical research. However, the meridian system used in acupuncture needs further clarification. This review describes how acupuncture affects the body and brain. From the perspective of traditional East Asian medicine, the meridian system is closely connected with acupuncture’s treatment effects. In the body, the indications of acupoints, primarily established based on the meridian system, have spatial symptom patterns. Spatial patterns of acupoint indications are distant from the stimulated sites and strongly associated with the corresponding meridian’s route. Understanding how acupuncture works based on the original meridian system is important. From a neuroscience perspective, an acupuncture-induced sensation originates from the bottom-up action of simple needling in the peripheral receptor and the reciprocal interaction with top-down brain modulation. In the brain, enhanced bodily attention triggered by acupuncture stimulation can activate the salience network and deactivate the default mode network regardless of the actual stimulation. The application of data science technology to acupuncture research may provide new tools to uncover the principles of acupoint selection and enhance the clinical efficacy of acupuncture treatment in various diseases.

  • Research Article2022-08-31

    Effects of Lidocaine Injection at Acupuncture Points on Perioperative Analgesia in Cats Undergoing Ovariohysterectomy

    Camila Menossi Sueza Lima, Camila Zanetti Segatto, Gustavo Ricci Zanelli, Gabriel Montoro Nicácio, Renata Navarro Cassu*
    J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2022; 15(4): 255-263 https://doi.org/10.51507/j.jams.2022.15.4.255

    Abstract : Background: Pharmacopuncture is an acupuncture-related technique that has been used to amplify the therapeutic effects of different medications.Objectives: To investigate the analgesic efficacy of a lidocaine injection at acupoints in cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy.Methods: Thirty cats were randomly distributed into two groups (n = 15, per group). The experimental group received a bilateral administration of lidocaine at the following acupoints: Stomach 36 (ST-36) and Spleen 6 (SP-6) (Lido group). The control group did not receive lidocaine (Control group). All cats were sedated with dexmedetomidine and anesthesia was induced with propofol and maintained with isoflurane. Intraoperatively, fentanyl was given to control cardiovascular responses to surgical stimulation. Postoperative pain was assessed at various time points, up to 24 hours after extubation, using the UNESP-Botucatu multidimensional composite pain scale (MCPS) and Glasgow feline composite measure pain scale (CMPS-Feline). Sedation scores were measured at the same time points. Morphine/meloxicam was administered as rescue analgesia. Data were analyzed using t-tests, Fisher´s exact test, the Mann-Whitney test, and the Friedman test (p < 0.05).Results: Intraoperatively, more cats in the Control group required analgesic supplementation than those in the Lido group, but the difference was not significant (p = 0.65). Postoperative pain, sedation scores, and analgesic requirements did not differ between groups. Rescue analgesia was given to 67% (10/15) of the cats in each group.Conclusion: The administration of lidocaine at ST-36 and SP-6 acupuncture points did not provide significant perioperative analgesic benefits in healthy cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy.

  • Review Article2022-08-31

    Abstract : Currently, acupressure is widely accepted as a non-pharmacological therapy for managing pain, nausea and vomiting, and mental health conditions. Since acupressure can be self-administered, clinicians and researchers’ interest in information and communication technologies (ICTs) for disseminating acupressure to manage symptoms has increased. This mini review was conducted to examine clinical studies of acupressure using ICTs, with a particular focus on self-acupressure. Through a search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL, all studies of self-acupressure using ICTs published before December 31, 2021 were collected. Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria. More than half of the studies published since 2020 (4/7, 54.14%) were described as being related to COVID-19. As target conditions, musculoskeletal injuries or pain, cancer-related symptoms, dysmenorrhea, mental health issues, and obesity were considered. The most frequently used acupoints were LI4, LR3, and Shenmen. Moreover, smartphone applications were the most commonly used ICT method to support self-acupressure. In addition to the basic information of self-acupressure, other tools such as timers, reminders, and schedule checkers to facilitate its implementations have been incorporated into the smartphone applications. Recently, there have been some attempts to combine acupressure and ICTs. Although these studies mainly focus on musculoskeletal pain or injuries, recent studies related to mental health have emerged in relation to COVID-19. However, few studies have been conducted to date, making it difficult to fully grasp the trends in this field. Therefore, more studies are needed to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of combining self-acupressure and ICTs in more diverse clinical areas.

  • Research Article2022-02-28

    Adrenergic Control of Primo Tissue Size in Rats

    Yiming Shen , Yu Jeong Kim , Pan Dong Ryu *
    J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2022; 15(1): 25-36 https://doi.org/10.51507/j.jams.2022.15.1.25

    Abstract : Background: Hyperplastic morphological changes associated with erythropoiesis have been reported in the primo vascular system (PVS) tissue on the surface of abdominal organs in rats with heart failure (HF) or hemolytic anemia (HA). Objectives: Since adrenergic activity is commonly activated in both HF and HA, we investigated whether adrenergic signaling mediates the abovementioned morphological changes. Methods: We compared the effects of adrenolytic treatments (exercise training and 6-hydroxydopamine) on the gross morphology of the PVS tissues isolated from organ surfaces in HF or HA rats. HF and HA were induced by ligating the left coronary artery and injecting phenylhydrazine, respectively. We further compared the effects of norepinephrine and norepinephrine plus α- or β-adrenoceptor blockers. Results: The number of samples per rat, PN size, and proportion of red-colored samples in the PVS tissue increased in the HF and HA rats. These changes were reversed by adrenolytic treatments. Interestingly, 6-hydroxydopamine also reversed phenylhydrazineinduced hemolytic changes in erythrocytes. Subcutaneous administration of norepinephrine (3 mg/kg/d) increased the sampling frequency per rat and the PN size, but these effects were blunted at a higher dose (10 mg/kg/d). Norepinephrine administration had little effect on the proportion of red-colored tissues. Norepinephrine-induced morphological changes were completely blocked by a β-adrenoceptor antagonist (propranolol) but increased slightly by an α-adrenoceptor antagonist (phentolamine). Conclusion: Adrenergic signaling controls hyperplastic changes in the organ surface PVS in rats. These findings may explain the morphological dynamics of the PVS tissues proposed by Bong Han Kim and further clarify the pathophysiological roles of the PVS.

  • Case Report2022-06-30

    Abstract : Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is disease that gives burdens for many countries, with a few choices for the management such as drugs or surgery, each has side effects that decrease the quality of life. Acupuncture is proven to be an effective treatment for pain and can restore nerve functions, and laser acupuncture is one of the modalities. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of laser acupuncture with total sample of 3 patients (6 wrists) mostly with tingling sensations and the outcomes are Boston questionnaire (BCTQ), visual analogue scale (VAS), Tinel sign, Phalen sign, and parameters of nerve conduction study (NCS). Acupuncture points used here are PC6, PC7, EXUE9, and LI4. The results show a decrease in NCS grades for 3 wrists, all wrists have BCTQ score improvements, a decrease in VAS, but no significant improvement in Tinel and Phalen signs. It is concluded that laser acupuncture can be used as a treatment option for the management of carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Obituary2022-02-28

    Obituary: Professor Kwang-Sup Soh (1945-2021)

    Ku Youn Baik1, Hak Soo Shin2, Pan-Dong Ryu3,*
    J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2022; 15(1): 1-3 https://doi.org/10.51507/j.jams.2022.15.1.1
  • Research Article2022-06-30

    Comparison of an Iranian Traditional Massage (Fateh Method) with Physiotherapy and Acupuncture for Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: a Randomized Controlled Trial

    Parva Namiranian1, Mehrdad Karimi1, Seyede Zahra Emami Razavi2, Ahmad Fateh Garoos1, Mohammad Hossein Ayati1,*
    J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2022; 15(3): 163-173 https://doi.org/10.51507/j.jams.2022.15.3.163

    Abstract : Background: Low back pain (LBP) is currently a major reason for disability worldwide. Therapeutic massage is one of the most popular non-pharmacological methods for managing chronic LBP (CLBP), and the Fateh method is a massage technique based on Iranian Traditional Medicine.Objectives: The current study aimed to compare the effects of Fateh massage with those of acupuncture and physiotherapy on relieving pain and disability in CLBP.Methods: Eighty-four patients with CLBP were categorized into groups that received Fateh massage, acupuncture, or physiotherapy. Each group included 28 randomly assigned patients who completed 10 sessions of therapy. Visual analogue scale (VAS) scores and Roland–Morris disability scores were evaluated at baseline, after intervention, and four weeks later. The findings were analyzed with SPSS software.Results: The baseline VAS and Roland–Morris scores of the three study groups did not indicate significant differences (p > 0.05). All three groups showed significant pre-post improvements in both scores (p < 0.05). At the end of the treatment sessions, the three groups showed no significant difference in the reductions in pain intensity and disability score (p > 0.05). Improvements in disability and pain between the first and third time points were significant in all three groups (p < 0.05 for each group). In addition, the results of massage, physiotherapy, and acupuncture groups were not significantly different (p > 0.05). No adverse events occurred in the patients.Conclusion: The effects of Fateh massage were comparable to those of acupuncture and physiotherapy in reducing pain and disability in patients with CLBP.

  • Abstract : Depression is a common illness worldwide. Acupuncture is used as an alternative to non-pharmacological therapy. This study aimed to identify the development and global trends in the study of acupuncture therapy for depression over the past two decades using a bibliometric analysis. Articles published between 2001 and 2020 on acupuncture for depression were retrieved from the Web of Science database. Extracted information included authors, organizations, countries, keywords, and journals. The VOSviewer program was used to visualize the impacts and network hubs of the keywords, authors, and affiliations. Analyses of 871 original and review articles revealed that the number of publications has continually increased over the past 20 years. China has published the maximum number of articles, followed by the United States and South Korea. As for research areas, integrative complementary medicine was most well represented in terms of the number of articles. Co-occurrence analysis of keywords indicated that each five sub-group cluster (including “pain related to depressive symptoms,” “CAM therapies of depression,” “comorbid disease or symptoms of depression,” “clinical trials of depression,” and “mechanism of acupuncture on depression”) has its own impact keyword. The most recent keywords were “protocol” and “systematic review,” whereas early keywords were “acupuncture analgesia” and “St john’s wort.” Co-authorship analysis of authors and organizations revealed 4 influential authors and 2 organizations in the field of acupuncture for depression. The present study provided influential keywords that show comorbid symptoms, treatments, and mechanism. Additionally, it revealed the influential persons or groups related to acupuncture therapy for depression.

  • Research Article2022-12-31

    Abstract : Background: Acupuncture is a non-pharmacological therapy used clinically for mood disorders. Relief of physical symptoms with acupuncture treatment may lead to relief of depressive symptoms and improvement of quality of life (QoL). Few studies have examined the effect of acupuncture on the physical symptoms and QoL of patients with mood disorders.Objectives: To examine the effect of acupuncture on physical symptoms and QoL of patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD).Methods: This prospective, single-arm, longitudinal study included patients with MDD and BD from an outpatient psychiatric clinic. Acupuncture was performed weekly for 12 weeks in combination with regular treatment, with fixed acupoints and individualized treatment for each patient. Psychiatric symptoms were evaluated using the Himorogi Self-Rating Depression Scale (HSDS) and Himorogi Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (HSAS). Physical symptoms such as physical pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, and sleep disorders were evaluated using the Japanese version of the Somatic Symptom Scale-8 (SSS-8) and Visual Analog Scale (VAS). QoL was evaluated using the 8-item Short-Form (SF-8) Health Survey.Results: A total of 36 patients (15 MDD and 21 BD patients) were analyzed. After 12 weeks of acupuncture, HSDS and HSAS scores significantly decreased (p < 0.05). Physical symptoms evaluated using SSS-8 and VAS scores also significantly improved (p < 0.05). In particular, neck pain and insomnia improved at an early stage. Among the SF-8 subscales, scores of bodily pain, general health perception, role limitations due to emotional problems, and mental health significantly increased (p < 0.05).Conclusion: Acupuncture may improve not only psychiatric symptoms but also physical symptoms and QoL in patients with treatment-resistant mood disorders. Further studies are required for confirmation of the preliminary data collected thus far.


Journal Info

December, 2022
Vol.15 No.6

pISSN 2005-2901
eISSN 2093-8152

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  • Research Article2021-12-31

    Effects of Joint Mobilization Versus Acupuncture on Pain and Functional Ability in People with Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Comparative Effectiveness

    Petros Voulgarakis, Paris Iakovidis, Dimitrios Lytras*, Ioanna P. Chatziprodromidou, Anastasios Kottaras, Thomas Apostolou
    J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2021; 14(6): 231-237 https://doi.org/10.51507/j.jams.2021.14.6.231

    Abstract : Background: Chronic Neck Pain (CNP) is one of the main contributing factors to disability in people of working age.Objectives: The aim of this randomized clinical trial was to compare the efficacy between acupuncture and joint mobilization on pain and disability in patients with CNP. Methods: The study involved 45 men and women with CNP, divided into three groups of 15 each. The first group followed a manual therapy protocol with joint mobilization for eight weeks three times per week. The second group followed an acupuncture protocol of equal duration and frequency, while the third group did not follow any treatment. Pain with the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for pain and functional limitations with the Neck Disability Index (NDI) questionnaire were assessed before and after an 8-week intervention. Analysis of variance was applied while post-hoc comparisons were made to determine the differences among the groups at each time of measurement. Results: Both intervention groups showed statistically significant differences compared to the control group after the end of the intervention in both the VAS and the NDI scores (p< .001). Furthermore, the acupuncture group showed a statistically significant improvement compared to the joint mobilization team after the end of the intervention in the VAS score (p< .001) and the NDI score (p< .05). Conclusion: Both joint mobilization and acupuncture appear to be effective interventions in reducing pain and improving functional ability in people with CNP. However, acupuncture appears to have a greater analgesic effect than joint mobilization.

  • Review Article2021-04-30

    Abstract : Primary dysmenorrhea is defined as cramping pain in the lower abdomen with no pelvic diseases, and it has a high prevalence in many countries. Acupressure is a widely used complementary treatment method for primary dysmenorrhea. This review examined experimental studies to determine the effects of acupressure on primary dysmenorrhea using the databases PubMed, Google Scholar, and CINAHL with the keywords “Acupressure” and “Dysmenorrhea”. There were 2227 records in the databases, and 330 articles were published between 1989 and March 2020. Experimental studies in the English language were reviewed according to the PRISMA guidelines. This review included 28 published studies that were assessed using the Jadad score for quality. The studies were categorized as studies of acupressure at the LR3 point (n = 4), at the SP6 point (n = 9), at auricular points (n = 5), at multiple points (n = 8), and with devices (n = 2). Moreover, studies of self-acupressure (n = 9) were identified. The studies demonstrated that acupressure could reduce menstrual symptoms, the severity and duration of menstrual pain, distress, and anxiety. Furthermore, it helped improve the quality of life and well-being of patients and provide psychological support and self-care. Acupressure is an inexpensive, easy-to-apply, and non-pharmacological treatment and is useful for reducing primary dysmenorrhea, and women can apply this method anywhere by themselves. However, high-quality randomized controlled trials with larger samples are necessary to establish the evidence for acupressure as an effective intervention.

  • Research Article2021-10-31

    Abstract : Background: Despite the adherence to medications, the control of the modifiable key risk factor—intraocular pressure (IOP)—for the progression of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) in diabetics is usually difficult; hence, many glaucoma patients try other alternative therapeutic options. Objectives: This randomized controlled study investigated the short-term IOP response to the combined effects of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation over acupoint (Acu-TENS) and yoga ocular exercise in type 2 diabetics with POAG. Methods: Eighty diabetics with bilateral POAG, ages ≥ 50 years, IOP > 21 mmHg in both eyes, and a body mass index below 30 kg/m2 were included in this trial. The patients were randomly assigned to group A (n = 40; this group received 20 minutes of yoga ocular exercise followed by 20 minutes of active Acu-TENS over bilateral BL 61 and BL 62 acupoints) and group B (n = 40; this group received the same protocol as group A but with a placebo Acu-TENS). The repeated measurement of IOP were recorded before, immediately after, 30 minutes, and 60 minutes after the sessions. Results: The repeated measures analysis of variance revealed a greater significant decline of IOP in group A than group B in both eyes at the consecutive intervals of time measurements. Conclusion: According to this short-term observation, the addition of Acu-TENS to yoga ocular exercise could reduce the high IOP in diabetic patients with POAG, but further longterm trials are needed.

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  • Research Article2021-10-31

    Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation of PC5 and PC6 Acupoints Increases Sympathovagal Balance but Not Oxidative Stress in Healthy Subjects: A Randomized Clinical Trial

    Fernando Gomes de Jesus1,2, Alice Pereira Duque1,2, Carole Sant'ana Massolar1, Giselle Pinto de Faria Lopes1, Ana Carolina de Azevedo Carvalho3, Mauro Felippe Felix Mediano2,4, Luiz Fernando Rodrigues Junior1,2,*
    J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2021; 14(5): 183-192 https://doi.org/10.51507/j.jams.2021.14.5.183

    Abstract : Background: Transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) improves autonomic balance and reduces oxidative stress in subjects with chronic diseases, that decreases the risk of low-grade chronic inflammatory diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. However, these beneficial effects have never been demonstrated in healthy subjects. Objectives: To evaluate the acute effects of TEAS on autonomic balance and oxidative stress of healthy subjects. Methods: A randomized clinical trial was conducted with male healthy subjects (18-30 years old), randomly allocated to control (no intervention; n = 14), placebo (placebo intervention; n = 14) and TEAS group (at PC5 and PC6 acupoints; n = 13). The protocol consisted of accommodation (20 min), intervention (40 min), and recovery (30 min) periods. The acute effects of TEAS on hemodynamics were studied through measurements of heart rate, blood pressure and double product; on the autonomic nervous system by assessing heart rate variability; and on oxidative stress by quantifying reactive oxygen species in saliva samples, collected at the end of each period. Results: TEAS increased heart rate and double-product compared to control and placebo groups (p < 0.01). Moreover, TEAS increased sympathetic and reduced parasympathetic tonus, increasing the sympathovagal balance compared to the control and placebo groups. However, TEAS exerted no effect on oxidative stress in saliva samples. Conclusion: In healthy subjects, TEAS at PC5 and PC6 acupoints acutely improved autonomic balance, increasing sympathetic and reducing parasympathetic tonus, reflecting little improvement on hemodynamic responses. Whether it could be used as a cardioprotective strategy remains uncertain since it exerted no effect on oxidative stress.

  • Research Article2021-08-31

    Application of Auriculotherapy for Post-Burn Scar Syndrome in Young Adults with Major Burns

    Cha-Chun Chen1,2,3, San-Pei Chen4, Shu-Yu Lyu3, Chung-Hua Hsu2,5,*
    J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2021; 14(4): 127-136 https://doi.org/10.51507/j.jams.2021.14.4.127

    Abstract : Background: A burn scar is a type of hypertrophic scar that can cause significant clinical symptoms, discomfort, and post-burn scar (PBS) syndrome in up to 77% of patients with burn injuries. Medication and rehabilitation are rarely effective at managing patient discomfort, and both laser and surgical interventions are postponed until the scar stabilizes and discomfort is tolerable. Objectives: The present study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of auricular acupuncture among burn victims from the Formosa Color Dust Explosion in Taiwan. Methods: We enrolled 31 victims of the 2016 Formosa Color Dust Explosion who met the study inclusion criteria. The intervention involved placement of magnetic beads over the auricular Shenmen and Subcortex acupoints on one ear. Patients performed selfmassage five times per day, and both magnet beads were removed between the fifth and seventh days during the sessions. Several evaluation tools were used to assess clinical symptoms: the visual analogue scale for pain assessment, Burn Man Itch Scale for perceived patient itchiness, 5-D Pruritus Scale for sleep quality, and heart rate variability (HRV) for effects on the autonomic nervous system. Results: The clinical symptoms were significantly decreased following the intervention, but the effect did not endure. The normal-to-normal heart rate interval, heart rate analysis abnormalities, and very low frequency heart rate were significantly decreased among patients with abnormal HRV (SD < 40) following treatment. Conclusion: Stimulation of the auricular Shenmen and Subcortex acupoints may effectively reduce pain, itchiness, and sleep disturbances among patients with PBS syndrome.

  • Perspective Article2021-06-30

    An Immunological Hypothesis of Fu’s Subcutaneous Needling Acupuncture

    Wenbo Xu*, Jidong Wu, Ping Xu
    J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2021; 14(3): 110-115 https://doi.org/10.51507/j.jams.2021.14.3.110

    Abstract : Fu’s subcutaneous needling (FSN) is a novel acupuncture approach. Although it has been popularized and widely used by acupuncture practitioners, theoretical research on its mechanism of action remains lacking. This study establishes an immunological hypothesis for the efficacy of FSN basis existing knowledge in biomedical science, histology and physiology, and traditional acupuncture mechanisms. The theoretical inference indicates that FSN treatment may affect the body's immune system through subcutaneous connective tissue, similar to triggering a cobweb-like system. This article also proposes possible clinical implications of this theory, which require further studies to validate.

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