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Observational Study
, 96 (17), e6768

Exploring Spatial Patterns of Acupoint Indications From Clinical Data: A STROBE-compliant Article

Affiliations
Observational Study

Exploring Spatial Patterns of Acupoint Indications From Clinical Data: A STROBE-compliant Article

Won-Mo Jung et al. Medicine (Baltimore).

Abstract

Every acupoint has specific indications for acupuncture treatment. These indications, primarily established based on the meridian system, have spatial patterns of symptoms on the human body. We investigated the associations between acupoints and symptom locations in 75 patients with chronic pain who were asked to sketch the localization of their symptoms on body schemes using the bodily sensation map (BSM) system. Combining the BSM and clinical information, we estimated the statistical parameters of relationships between acupoints and spatial information on symptoms. We further visualized spatial patterns of indications of the representative acupoints on the human body template using a Z score. Using a statistical parametric map method, we observed significant activation patterns of 12 acupoint indications with spatial patterns. The 1st group of patterns was distant from the acupoint locus and was strongly associated with the route of the corresponding meridian. The 2nd group was found around the acupoint locus, the majority of which was located at the trunk or back areas. Intensive investigations of the spatial patterns of acupoint indications would be a novel paradigm to explain point specificity of acupuncture treatment based on the original concept of the meridian system. Future studies should include more meaningful clinical data with larger sample sizes.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Data collection, analysis, and visualization. (A) A human body template was shown as a 2D image in 4 view angles (front, back, left, and right side view) using the bodily sensation map (BSM) system. Patients were required to draw their symptom sites onto the BSM interface using a touch pen. (B) Then we estimated the associations between acupoints and the spatial information of symptoms by combining the BSM data and clinical information. (C) We visualized spatial patterns of acupoint indications on the human body template using Z scores.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Indication maps of acupoints with remote activation patterns. We visualized spatial patterns of 4 representative acupoints with remote activation patterns: (A) LI4, (B) ST36, (C) PC6, and (D) BL40. Each acupoint showed a distinct spatial pattern of indications and was strongly associated with the route of the corresponding meridian. Red arrows indicate the corresponding acupoint locations in the body.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Indication maps of acupoints with regional control patterns. We visualized the spatial patterns of 4 representative acupoints with regional activation patterns: (A) CV12, (B) EX-B2, (C) SP6, and (D) GB30. Each acupoint had a relatively regional spatial pattern of indications. Most of them were located in the trunk and back areas. Black arrows indicate the corresponding acupoint locations in the body.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Comparison of Meridian diagram in Qing Dynasty and spatial patterns of acupoint indication. (A) A traditional Mingtang Diagram for the bladder meridian from the Qing Dynasty. (B) Acupoints BL40 and BL60 in the same meridian showed similar spatial patterns of indications.

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