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, 2013, 872142

Visualization of the Meridian System Based on Biomedical Information About Acupuncture Treatment


Visualization of the Meridian System Based on Biomedical Information About Acupuncture Treatment

In-Seon Lee et al. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.


The origin of the concept of the meridian system is closely connected with the treatment effects of acupuncture, and it serves as an empirical reference system in the clinical setting. Understanding the meridian channels would be a first step in enhancing the clinical efficacy of acupuncture treatment. To understand the relationship between the location of the disease and the sites of relevant acupoints, we investigated acupuncture treatment regimens for low-back pain in 37 clinical studies. We found that the most frequently used acupoints in the treatment of low-back pain were BL23 (51%), BL25 (43%), BL24 (32%), BL40 (32%), BL60 (32%), GB30 (32%), BL26 (28%), BL32 (28%), and GB34 (21%). For the example of low-back pain, we visualized the biomedical information (frequency rates) about acupuncture treatment on the meridians of a three-dimensional (3D) model of the human body. We found that both local and distal acupoints were used to treat low-back pain in clinical trials based on the meridian theory. We suggest a new model for the visualization of a data-driven 3D meridian system of biomedical information about the meridians and acupoints. These findings may be helpful in understanding the meridian system and revealing the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Frequency of acupoints in 53 studies. Frequency of acupoints selected in each study (%). Frequency % = number of studies using certain acupoint/total number of studies × 100. The most frequently adopted acupoints for the treatment of the low-back pain (used in >20% of the studies) were BL23 (51%), BL25 (43%), BL24 (32%), BL40 (32%), BL60 (32%), GB30 (32%), BL26 (28%), BL32 (28%), and GB34 (21%).
Figure 2
Figure 2
(a) A traditional Mingtang Diagram for the bladder meridian from the Qing Dynasty. (b) A new model of a data-driven 3D visualization of the meridian system based on biomedical information on the meridians and acupoints for low-back pain. Acupoints are marked according to the frequency of their use in the treatment of low-back pain as reported in the clinical data.

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