About Lynn

lynn jaffeeLynn Jaffee is a licensed acupuncturist and the author of the book, Simple Steps: The Chinese Way to Better Health, a clear and concise explanation of Chinese medicine for the lay person. She is co-author of the book, The BodyWise Woman, a personal health manual for physically active women and girls. Read more about Lynn...

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Are Acupuncture Points Real?

An acupuncture point is a specific location on your body where an acupuncturist inserts a needle.  For acupuncturists, the existence of these points is kind of a leap of faith.  The points we practitioners use have specific locations, actions, and work in combination with other points.  It’s fair to say that we acupuncturists have a relationship with some of the points we use.  There are those that we choose all the time and others that we rarely even think about.

Acupuncture Clinic MinneapolisAnd yet, we can’t see or feel those points; we acupuncturists just believe that they exist.  However, a newly published study suggests that acupuncture points aren’t random or imaginary.

In a study conducted in China, researchers using CT scans were able to observe very distinct structural differences between acupuncture points and the surrounding tissues. The points in the study (St 36 and St 37) were different in that they were more vascular, having a greater concentration of micro vessels (tiny blood vessels) as well as a greater number of large blood vessels than tissues that are not acupuncture points.  The researchers were also able to estimate the size of an acupuncture point by the diameter of the vascular concentrations that the CT scans revealed.

So while we can’t see, feel, smell, or hear acupuncture points, it seems that they may be real after all.  It feels like validation to me.

2 comments to Are Acupuncture Points Real?

  • Mister Wu

    Can’t feel the points? Sure you can.

  • Lynn Jaffee

    Hah! I knew when I was writing it that someone would challenge me on this. Yes, we acupuncturists can feel the points; I frequently locate points just by feeling for them. However, most people can’t feel them. Thanks for keeping me honest!