New anatomic structure analysis of acupuncture points

Helmut Liertzer
Orthopaedic department, Herz-Jesu Hospital, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Acupuncture, Vienna, Austria

The morphological examinations of triggerpoints goes back to 1904 (Stockman). But most known are the researches of Travell&Simons (1976, 1983) who also stated the correlation of a variety of triggerpoints with muscular acupuncture points. Heine (1987) could prove the corresponding of many acupuncture points with nerve-vessel bundles which pierces the superficial body fasciae. A similar anatomical situation can be assumed also for the deep muscular triggerpoints and acupuncture points.

Method: The points TH 15 (Tianliao) and St 36 (Zusanli) were examined with a digitally encoded ultrasound system with a 12 MHz linear array transducer with a colour flow resolution down to 0,6 mm. After exact needling (De Qi) the depth of the point was measured with the length of the inserted needle and the transducer placed exactly upon the points.

Results: In both points – exactly in the measured depth – an arterial vessel (diameter between 0.6 to 0.7 mm) as a leading structure of a nerve vessel bundle in direction of 80° to 90° towards the skin where detected. In the surrounding of 5 cm no similar anatomical situation could be found. Especially in the point TH 15 the arterial vessel penetrates the deep fascia of the trapecius muscle.