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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 908546, 9 pages
Research Article

Haemodynamic Changes in the Superior Mesenteric Artery Induced by Acupuncture Stimulation on the Lower Limbs

1Department of Traditional Asian Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Miyagi 980-8575, Japan
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Miyagi 980-8575, Japan

Received 12 December 2011; Revised 9 February 2012; Accepted 19 March 2012

Academic Editor: John C. Longhurst

Copyright © 2012 Masashi Watanabe 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.


Acupuncture is commonly performed on acupoints. A comparison of quantitative physiological alterations induced by stimulation on different acupoints has never been performed in the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) in humans. Therefore, we investigated changes in blood flow volume (BFV) in the SMA as an indicator of physiological effects induced by stimulation on 3 points. Thirty healthy participants aged years ( ) were enrolled. All participants underwent stimulations on 3 points located in the lower legs: ST36, LR3, and a non-acupoint. Control pertains to a condition with no-stimulation. Stimulation was performed bilaterally with manual rotation of the needles. BFV was measured by ultrasonography before insertion and 10, 20, 30, and 60 minutes after stimulation. Following acupuncture on ST36, BFV increased significantly 20 and 30 minutes after stimulation, compared to BFV before insertion ( ). Following stimulation on LR3 and the non-acupoint, no significant differences in BFV could be found. Relative to the no-stimulation group, stimulation on LR3, and the non-acupoint, stimulation on ST36 elicited a significant increase in BFV ( ). The results suggest that stimulation on the different points causes distinct physiological effects in BFV in the SMA.