Reproductive Acupuncture Points Used in Experimental Studies
November 9, 2014
Over the past decade, small groups of researchers have attempted to clarify the potential effects of acupuncture on female reproductive organs under strict laboratory-controlled conditions. Many experimental studies on ovarian and uterine blood flow are conducted using anaesthetized rats. The advantage of studying on anaesthetized animals is that it eliminates potential placebo effects and other unspecific influences that are often prevalent in human clinical studies.
Experimental studies on rats demonstrated influences of acupuncture or acupuncture-like somatosensory stimulation on ovarian and uterine blood flow.1-7 The responses were elicited via spinal and/or supraspinal reflexes. Studies on humans further supported the efficacy of acupuncture on uterine blood flow.8 9
Based on both the experimental studies and traditional Chinese meridian theory, it can be considered that selecting traditional acupuncture points located within the areas of reproductive organ dermatomes (T10-L2 and S2-S4) would produce a profound impact on reproductive organs via spinal segmental reflexes.
There are many acupuncture points traditionally used for fertility that are located outside of the dermatomes. Those points are considered to influence reproductive organs via supraspinal reflexes and other known and unknown mechanisms.
Related Article: Fertility Acupuncture Procedures
Figure 1: Dermatomes Related to the Reproductive Organs
Figure 2: Commonly Used Back Acupuncture Points within the Reproductive Organ Dermatomes
Figure 3: Commonly Used Abdominal Acupuncture Points within the Reproductive Organ Dermatomes
- Hotta H, Uchida S, Shimura M, Suzuki H. Uterine contractility and blood flow are reflexively regulated by cutaneous afferent stimulation in anesthetized rats. Journal of the autonomic nervous system 1999;75(1):23-31.
- Sato Y, Hotta H, Nakayama H, Suzuki H. Sympathetic and parasympathetic regulation of the uterine blood flow and contraction in the rat. Journal of the autonomic nervous system 1996;59(3):151-8.
- Stener-Victorin E, Fujisawa S, Kurosawa M. Ovarian blood flow responses to electroacupuncture stimulation depend on estrous cycle and on site and frequency of stimulation in anesthetized rats. J Appl Physiol 2006;101(1):84-91.
- Stener-Victorin E, Kobayashi R, Kurosawa M. Ovarian blood flow responses to electro-acupuncture stimulation at different frequencies and intensities in anaesthetized rats. Auton Neurosci 2003;108(1-2):50-6.
- Stener-Victorin E, Kobayashi R, Watanabe O, Lundeberg T, Kurosawa M. Effect of electro-acupuncture stimulation of different frequencies and intensities on ovarian blood flow in anaesthetized rats with steroid-induced polycystic ovaries. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 2004;2:16.
- Uchida S, Hotta H, Kagitani F, Aikawa Y. Ovarian blood flow is reflexively regulated by mechanical afferent stimulation of a hindlimb in nonpregnant anesthetized rats. Auton Neurosci 2003;106(2):91-7.
- Uchida S, Kagitani F, Hotta H, Hanada T, Aikawa Y. Cutaneous Mechanical Stimulation Regulates Ovarian Blood Flow via Activation of Spinal and Supraspinal Reflex Pathways in Anesthetized Rats. The Japanese journal of physiology 2005;55(5):265-77.
- Ho M, Huang LC, Chang YY, Chen HY, Chang WC, Yang TC, et al. Electroacupuncture reduces uterine artery blood flow impedance in infertile women. Taiwanese journal of obstetrics & gynecology 2009;48(2):148-51.
- Stener-Victorin E, Waldenstrom U, Andersson SA, Wikland M. Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Hum Reprod 1996;11(6):1314-7.
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