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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 513638, 8 pages
Review Article

Evaluation of the Effects of Acupuncture on Blood Flow in Humans with Ultrasound Color Doppler Imaging

1Department of Traditional Asian Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, 2-1, Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai 980-8574, Japan
3Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8575, Japan

Received 23 February 2012; Revised 2 April 2012; Accepted 2 April 2012

Academic Editor: Gerhard Litscher

Copyright © 2012 Shin Takayama et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Color Doppler imaging (CDI) can be used to noninvasively create images of human blood vessels and quantitatively evaluate blood flow in real-time. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of acupuncture on the blood flow of the peripheral, mesenteric, and retrobulbar arteries by CDI. Statistical significance was defined as values less than 0.05. Blood flow in the radial and brachial arteries was significantly lower during needle stimulation on LR3 than before in healthy volunteers, but was significantly higher after needle stimulation than before. LR3 stimulation also resulted in a significant decrease in the vascular resistance of the short posterior ciliary artery and no significant change of blood flow through the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) during acupuncture. In contrast, ST36 stimulation resulted in a significant increase in blood flow through the SMA and no significant change in the vascular resistance of the retrobulbar arteries. Additionally, acupuncture at previously determined acupoints in patients with open-angle glaucoma led to a significant reduction in the vascular resistance of the central retinal artery and short posterior ciliary artery. Our results suggest that acupuncture can affect blood flow of the peripheral, mesenteric, and retrobulbar arteries, and CDI can be useful to evaluate hemodynamic changes by acupuncture.