3 Cool Things Advanced Imaging Shows about Acupuncture Points

At last, scientific evidence to back up 5000 years of TCM wisdom! For years skeptics have questioned whether acupuncture was anything more than quackery. Well, here’s what CT scans have revealed when comparing acupuncture points (in their organic state, without being needled) compared with non-acupuncture points in surrounding tissues.

Acupuncture points have:

  • much higher partial oxygen pressure. This is significant because partial oxygen pressure determines how well oxygenated blood can be delivered to your tissues.
  • higher density of microvessels. Microvessels regulate the amount of blood that passes to local tissues, and also conduct blood–tissue exchange to eliminate waste. (So we’re starting to see how stimulating these points would optimize body functioning here, right?!)
  • larger amount of complex/intricate microvascular structures. (The technical terms are involuted and bifurcated, for the science buffs among you).

So, what does this all mean? Well, while it still doesn’t explain the exact mechanism of how acupuncture works (from a modern medical perspective), it does provide concrete scientific evidence that there is something unique going on in the body at acupuncture points. And the exploration of those particular characteristics brings modern medicine one step closer to being able to understand what the ancients have known for thousands of years.


Chenglin, Liu, Wang Xiaohu, Xu Hua, Liu Fang, Dang Ruishan, Zhang Dongming, Zhang Xinyi, Xie Honglan, and Xiao Tiqiao. “X-ray phase-contrast CT imaging of the acupoints based on synchrotron radiation.” Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena (2013).

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