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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 793841, 6 pages
Review Article

Biophysical Characteristics of Meridians and Acupoints: A Systematic Review

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National Key Discipline and Clinical Base, Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine, 150040 Harbin, China
2Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Received 24 August 2012; Revised 26 November 2012; Accepted 14 December 2012

Academic Editor: Wolfgang Schwarz

Copyright © 2012 Juan Li 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.


As an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture is a convenient and effective therapy with fewer adverse effects. Recently, researches on meridian essence have become core issues of modern TCM. Numerous experiments have demonstrated the objective existence of meridians by different technologies since 1950s, such as biophysics, biochemistry, and molecular biology. In this paper, we review biophysical studies on electric, acoustic, thermal, optical, magnetic, isotopic, and myoelectric aspects of meridians and acupoints. These studies suggest that meridians/acupoints have biophysical characteristics which are different from nonacupuncture points. Owing to the limitations of previous studies, future research using high-throughput technologies such as omics and multicenter randomized controlled trials should be performed to explore the acupuncture’s mechanisms of action and demonstration of efficacy.