Connective Tissue Response To Acupuncture

A picture of the fascia wrapping up an acupuncture needle.  This image was taken from Julie Casper's research on The Effects of Acupuncture Manipulation of Fascia done at The Academy of Oriental Sciences in 2007. 

needle in connective tissue








Summary of Proposed Model of Physiological Effects Seen in Acupuncture 

Traditional Chinese Medicine Concepts & Proposed Anatomical/Physiological Equivalents*

  • Acupuncture meridians - Connective tissue planes
  • Acupuncture points - Convergence of connective tissue planes
  • Qi - Sum of all body energetic phenomena (e.g., metabolism, movement, signaling, information exchange)
  • Meridian qi - Connective tissue biochemical / bioelectrical signaling
  • Blockage of qi (qi impediment) - Altered connective tissue matrix composition leading to altered signal transduction
  • Needle grasp - Tissue winding and / or contraction of fibroblasts surrounding the needle
  • De qi sensation (needle sensation) - Stimulation of connective tissue sensory mechanoreceptors
  • Propagated de qi sensation - Wave of connective tissue contraction and sensory mechanoreceptor stimulation along connective tissue planes
  • Restoration of qi flow - Cellular activation / gene expression leading to restored connective tissue matrix composition and signal transduction

* Reference

fMRI and Acupuncture Research

Functional neuroanatomical investigation of vision-related acupuncture point specificity - a multi-session fMRI study

In the above study, distal acupuncture points (points located away from the area of pain/main complaint) used to treat the eyes, were tested to see if they had an effect on the regions of the brain that affect eye health.  They found that GB 37 and BL 60 did have an effect on the occipital region (the region associated with vision) of the brain.