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J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jul;16(7):707-13. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0355.

Brief effect of acupuncture on the peripheral arterial system of the upper limb and systemic hemodynamics in humans.

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Center for Asian Traditional Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.



Pulse diagnosis of the peripheral artery is an important technique in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where, in acupuncture therapy, the treatment is adjusted according to the observed changes of the pulse. We investigated the change of blood flow in the peripheral artery and the cardiac index during acupuncture treatment.


The aim of this study is to explore the effect of acupuncture on radial and brachial artery blood flow volume and the cardiac index in healthy subjects.


Eighteen (18) healthy volunteers were enrolled. Acupuncture was performed bilaterally on LR-3 with manual rotation of the needles. The blood pressure and heart rate were measured at rest and 180 seconds after acupuncture. Radial and brachial artery blood flow volume was monitored continuously by an ultrasound with an echo-tracking system. Cardiac index was measured by impedance cardiography. The hemodynamic parameters were measured before, during, and 30, 60, 180 seconds after acupuncture.


The peripheral artery blood flow volume decreased significantly during acupuncture (radial; p < 0.01, brachial; p < 0.05) but increased at 180 seconds after acupuncture (radial; p < 0.05, brachial; p < 0.05) compared with before acupuncture. The cardiac index did not change significantly after acupuncture, but systemic vascular resistance index significantly decreased (p < 0.05).


The present study showed that radial and brachial artery blood flow volume decreased immediately during acupuncture on LR-3 acupoint, but increased at 180 seconds after acupuncture. This reaction is attributed to the change in peripheral vascular resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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