PLoS One. 2014 Oct 6;9(10):e109489. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109489. eCollection 2014.
Decreased Peripheral and Central Responses to Acupuncture Stimulation following Modification of Body Ownership.
Chae Y1, Lee IS2, Jung WM3, Chang DS4, Napadow V5, Lee H2, Park HJ2, Wallraven C3.
Author information

Acupuncture stimulation increases local blood flow around the site of stimulation and induces signal changes in brain regions related to the body matrix. The rubber hand illusion (RHI) is an experimental paradigm that manipulates important aspects of bodily self-awareness. The present study aimed to investigate how modifications of body ownership using the RHI affect local blood flow and cerebral responses during acupuncture needle stimulation. During the RHI, acupuncture needle stimulation was applied to the real left hand while measuring blood microcirculation with a LASER Doppler imager (Experiment 1, N = 28) and concurrent brain signal changes using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI; Experiment 2, N = 17). When the body ownership of participants was altered by the RHI, acupuncture stimulation resulted in a significantly lower increase in local blood flow (Experiment 1), and significantly less brain activation was detected in the right insula (Experiment 2). This study found changes in both local blood flow and brain responses during acupuncture needle stimulation following modification of body ownership. These findings suggest that physiological responses during acupuncture stimulation can be influenced by the modification of body ownership.

Psychophysical and neurophysiological responses to acupuncture stimulation to incorporated rubber hand.
Chae Y1, Lee IS2, Jung WM2, Park KM3, Park HJ2, Wallraven C4.
Author information:
1Acupuncture and Meridian Science Research Center, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Department of Brain and Cognitive Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:
2Acupuncture and Meridian Science Research Center, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
3Department of Biomedical Engineering, Kyunghee University, Yongin, Republic of Korea.
4Department of Brain and Cognitive Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

From a neuroscientific perspective, the sensations induced by acupuncture are not only the product of the bottom-up modulation of simple needling at somatosensory receptors, but also of the reciprocal interaction of top-down modulation from the brain. The present study investigated whether acupuncture stimulation to incorporated body parts produces brain responses that are similar to the responses observed following acupuncture stimulation to the real hand. The present study included 17 participants who watched a rubber hand being synchronously stroked with their unseen left hand to induce incorporation of the rubber hand into their body. After the experimental modification of body ownership, acupuncture needle stimulation was applied to the LI4 acupoint on the incorporated rubber hand while brain activity was measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). When the rubber hand was fully incorporated with the real body, acupuncture stimulation to the rubber hand resulted in the experience of the DeQi sensation as well as brain activations in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), insula, secondary somatosensory cortex (SII), and medial temporal (MT) visual area. The insular activation was associated with the DeQi sensation from the rubber hand. The psychophysical and neurophysiological responses associated with acupuncture stimulation to the incorporated rubber hand were influenced by an enhanced bodily awareness of the hand, which was likely due to top-down modulation from the interoceptive system in the brain.

Acupunct Med. 2015 Jun 1. pii: acupmed-2015-010785. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2015-010785. [Epub ahead of print]
Brain responses to acupuncture stimulation in the prosthetic hand of an amputee patient.
Lee IS1, Jung WM2, Lee YS2, Wallraven C3, Chae Y4.
Author information

This report describes the brain responses to acupuncture in an upper limb amputee patient. A 62-year-old male had previously undergone a lower left arm amputation following an electrical accident. Using functional MRI, we investigated brain responses to acupuncture stimulation in the aforementioned amputee under three conditions: (a) intact hand, (b) prosthetic hand (used by the patient), and (c) fake fabric hand. The patient described greater de qi sensation when he received acupuncture stimulation in his prosthetic hand compared to a fake hand, with both stimulations performed in a similar manner. We found enhanced brain activation in the insula and sensorimotor cortex in response to acupuncture stimulation in the amputee's prosthetic hand, while there was only minimal activation in the visual cortex in response to acupuncture stimulation in a fake hand. The enhanced brain responses to acupuncture stimulation of the patient's prosthetic hand might be derived from cortical reorganisation, as he has been using his prosthetic hand for over 40 years. Our findings suggest the possible use of acupuncture stimulation in a prosthetic hand as an enhanced sensory feedback mechanism, which may represent a new treatment approach for phantom limb pain.
Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to

Med J Malaysia. 2015 Feb;70(1):54-6.
Can intra-articular therapies prior to total knee arthroplasty increase the risk of periprosthetic infection?
Yeo QY1, Lye DC2, Sathappan Ss SS3.
Author information

Intra-articular therapies, such as steroid injection, viscosupplement injection and acupuncture, are common non-surgical options for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. With any intra-articular injection or acupuncture procedure, there is a potential for inoculation with bacteria leading to possible knee infection. The authors report a patient who incurred an acute infection found after a total knee arthroplasty attributed to prior acupuncture procedure done as part of conservative treatment.
Neurosci Lett. 2015 Feb 11. pii: S0304-3940(15)00130-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2015.02.025. [Epub ahead of print]