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Acupuncture Today
June, 2003, Vol. 04, Issue 06
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How Does Infrared Imaging Help Acupuncture?

By Yin Lo, PhD

It has been said that infrared cameras take interesting pictures of the effects of acupuncture. I know this is true, because I have an infrared camera (a Meditherm 2000) that can show the temperature of any spot on the skin.

When a patient with a fever visits the doctor's office, the first thing the nurse does is measure the patient's body temperature. Temperature can tell a lot about a person's state of health. With the ability of showing the temperature of more than 10,000 points on the skin instantaneously by infrared imaging, we can know a lot more about the health of a person. For example, by taking infrared pictures before and after acupuncture, its curing effect can be demonstrated to anyone, including those who are most skeptical of acupuncture.

Infared image of lower legs and feet. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark I will give an example of this by telling the story of my wife's left foot. A very good friend of mine, who was the head of the research department of a major acupuncture university in Los Angeles, came to see me. He heard that I was using infrared images to conduct research in meridians and acupuncture, and wanted to know more about it. He saw how dramatically the temperature pattern of a patient changed after receiving acupuncture and was eager to try it himself. He needed a patient. My wife volunteered immediately, and said she felt pain all over her left foot. She moved her finger to point a large area of her foot. I took an infrared picture of her feet (see below).

The differences in temperature on the surface of the skin are represented by color, using black, blue, green, yellow, orange, red and white in increasing temperature from coldest to hottest. Each change in color represents a change in temperature of one-half a degree Centigrade. The deep red region on the left foot indicates the hottest spot.

Infared image of lower legs and feet. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark My friend took a look at the image and saw the most serious area was on the lower left foot. He quickly decided it was the Liver meridian that passed closest to the area of pain. He inserted a single needle at Liv2 (xingjian) on the Liver meridian, situated between the first and second toe. We had discussed previously that the point of insertion should be away from the area of pain so that the relevance of the meridian could be shown. Ten minutes after the needle was inserted at Liv2, the high temperature area on the left foot decreased, and the low temperature area of the right foot increased, resulting in symmetry in temperature between the feet (see below).

The deep red region on the lower part of my wife's left foot, where the pain originated, was gone. My wife felt better, and the pain never returned.

There are several lessons to be drawn from these pictures, and several general features that show the inherent effects of acupuncture:

  1. The effect of acupuncture is immediate. Within one minute, the temperature of the skin's surface starts to change. The infrared pictures displays instantly on the monitor for all to see. The objective result of treatment is demonstrated in a colorful picture within minutes for the patient and practitioner to examine.
  2. The function of acupuncture meridians is demonstrated. The effect of acupuncture follows the path of the meridians, just as ancient texts claim. It is not necessary to insert a needle at the point of illness; oftentimes, it is better to insert needles far away from the problem area. The choice of insertion point is governed by meridian theory.
  3. Before treatment, there is asymmetry between the left and right feet. After treatment, the feet have the same temperature distribution and become symmetric again. Meridian theory always says that the effect of acupuncture is to balance yin and yang, or in this case the left and right feet. Here is the proof.

We have taken many pictures on many cases for many kinds of problems. Their interpretations are in general agreement with the traditional theory of meridians. Furthermore, we have developed a quantum theory of meridians and acupuncture that can provide modern scientific explanations to puzzles that naturally arise in the mind of a critic or skeptic. We hope the combination of infrared pictures and quantum theory will open up the miracles of acupuncture to many more millions of skeptical people. We shall show more pictures on different problems and explain them in an orthodox, scientific context next time.

Click here for previous articles by Yin Lo, PhD.


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