This study focuses on how acupoints ST 36 (Zu San Li) and SP 9 (Yin Ling Quan) and their sham acupoints act acutely on the limbic system via dopamine to affect satiety, glucose (GLU) blood levels, and core body temperature (CBT).
This controlled clinical trial compared real acupuncture (ACU) versus minimal sham acupuncture (min SHAM) effects on metabolic physiology using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
The study took place at the West China Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
The study subjects were 19 right-handed healthy, “overweight,” nondieting adult Chinese males ages 21–45 (10 for ACU treatment and 9 for min SHAM) who had abstained from eating 12 hours prior to the fMRI experiment.
Values for GLU and CBT indicated no significant differences (P>0.05) in both inter- and intragroup comparisons resulting from variable individual responses to treatment. Hunger survey feedback was significant (P<0.05) between the ACU and min SHAM groups. Soreness, or De Qi, was the only significant (P<0.05) intergroup sensation.
Acupuncture stimulation activated neurophysiological pathways involving dopamine, basal metabolic rate, heart rate, and satiety regulation. This project will be of great importance in helping scientists understand how acupuncture can be studied as a safe inexpensive treatment modality for weight control.