Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 585493, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/585493
Research Article

Specific Correlation between the Hegu Point (LI4) and the Orofacial Part: Evidence from an fMRI Study

1Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China
2Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, The Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan 250011, China
3Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan 250014, China
4Department of Radiology, The Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan 250011, China
5Division of Nuclear Technology and Applications, Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
6Beijing Engineering Research Center of Radiographic Techniques and Equipment, Beijing 100049, China

Received 14 May 2015; Revised 24 July 2015; Accepted 2 September 2015

Academic Editor: Karin Meissner

Copyright © 2015 Su-ping Kong 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.

Abstract

Acupoint specificity is a foundational concept in acupuncture theory. It is closely related to the function of the acupoint. In this study, we sought to probe the central mechanisms of the specific correlation between LI4 and orofacial part in Bell’s palsy patients. In total, 36 patients with left Bell’s palsy were divided into three groups in random order, and each group received transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) at only one of three acupoints (LI4, ST6, and a sham point). A single-block fMRI design paradigm was applied to separately detect neural activity related to different stages of TEAS (prestimulation resting state, stimulation, and poststimulation resting state). Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired during TEAS. There were extensive neuronal activities in the LI4 and ST6 groups and significant differences between stimulation at real and sham points. Brain regions were activated more by real acupoint TEAS than by sham point TEAS. Brain regions that were activated with LI4 and ST6 were broadly overlapping and adjacent. Our results provide supplementary neuroimaging evidence for the existence of acupoint specificity. These results may confirm the central mechanisms of the specific correlation between the Hegu point and the orofacial part.