Acupuncture points can be identified as cutaneous neurogenic inflammatory spots.

Research paper by Do-Hee DH Kim, Yeonhee Y Ryu, Dae Hyun DH Hahm, Boo Yong BY Sohn, Insop I Shim, O Sang OS Kwon, Suchan S Chang, Young Seob YS Gwak, Min Sun MS Kim, Jae Hyo JH Kim, Bong Hyo BH Lee, Eun Young EY Jang, Rongjie R Zhao, Jin Mo JM Chung, Chae Ha CH Yang, et al.

Indexed on: 11 Nov '17Published on: 11 Nov '17Published in: Scientific Reports


Acupuncture, a traditional medical procedure practised for over 2000 years in Asia, stimulates specific but poorly defined sites called acupoints. To date, no unique anatomical acupoint structures have been found. However, noxious sensory signals from visceral organs produce hypersensitive spots on the skin (neurogenic spots), caused by cutaneous neurogenic inflammation, in the dermatome that overlaps with visceral afferent innervations. Here, we show that an acupoint is one form of neurogenic inflammation on the skin. Various studies have demonstrated that acupoints show mechanical hypersensitivity and have high electrical conductance. Stimulation of acupoints produces needling sensations caused by the activation of small diameter afferent nerve fibres and therapeutic effects on the associated visceral organs, which is likely due to the release of endogenous opioids. The present study provides experimental evidence that neurogenic spots exhibit all the characteristics of the acupoints listed above. In addition, the stimulation of neurogenic spots by electrical, mechanical, or chemical means alleviated pathological conditions in rat colitis and hypertension models via the endogenous opioid system. Our results suggest that acupoints associated with internal organs may be identical to neurogenic inflammatory spots on the skin, which are produced by activation of somatic afferents in abnormal conditions of visceral organs.