Factors influencing the bio-impedance data in tissue segments along the three arm meridians: a pilot study

Lim, Chi Eung Danforn;Wong, Felix Wu Shun;Smith, Warren

  • 투고 : 2011.04.22
  • 심사 : 2011.11.30
  • 발행 : 2011.11.30


Bioelectric impedance measurements have been reported to show significant variation between individuals. Different physiological conditions like thickened skin, obesity, and fluid retention can affect the impedance measurement. Therefore, it is important to learn what other factors can affect the measurements of impedance even in healthy individuals. Such information is a prerequisite for understanding the changes in impedance associated with acupuncture treatment. This study investigated the bio-impedance properties of tissue segments in the arms of a number of healthy subjects, so as to define the factors that might influence the variation of the bio-impedance data in acupuncture meridians studies. 51 healthy subjects were recruited through Liverpool Hospital, Sydney. Demographic data was collected from each subject including the age, sex, BMI, and time since most recent meal. Electrodes were applied to the forearms of each test subject. Measurements were done by a purpose-built Bio-Impedance Research Device (BIRD-I) which allowed the determination of core resistance (Rc) and core reactance (Xc) of each of the three meridian tissue segments on the anterior surface of the forearm. No significant difference was found in the core resistance attributable to age group, gender, BMI or meal intake. However, a statistically significant trend in increasing resistance from the radial to ulnar aspect of the forearm (p < 0.001) was found. No significant difference was found in the core resistance of test tissue segments among the 51 healthy subjects measured in this study. However, the trend of increasing core resistance from the radial to ulnar aspects of the arm deserves further investigation.


bioimpedance;resistance;acupuncture meridians;traditional Chinese medicine;monitoring system


  1. Adami GF, Marinari G, Gandolfo P, Cocchi F, Friedman D, Scopinaro N. The use of bioelectrical impedance analysis for monitoring body composition changes during nutritional support. Surg Today. 1993;23(10):867-870.
  2. Ahn AC, Wu J, Badger GJ, Hammerschlag R, Langevin HM. Electrical impedance along conective tissue planes associated with acupuncture meridians. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2005;5:10.
  3. Ahn, AC, Colbert AP. Anderson BJ. Martinsen OG. Hammerschlag R. Cina S. Wayne. PM, Langevin HM. Electrical Properties of Acupuncture Points and Meridians: A Systematic Review. Bioelectromagnetics. 2008;29(4):245-256.
  4. Ahn AC, Martinsen OG. Electrical Characterisation of Acupuncture Points: Technical Issues and Challenges. J Altern Complement Med. 2007;13(8):817-824.
  5. Baumgartner RN, Chumlea WC, Roche AF. Bioelectric impedance phase angle and body composition. Am J Clin Nutr. 1988;48(1):16-23.
  6. Chan SHH. What is being stimulated in acupuncture: evaluation of the existence of a specific substrate. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1984;8(1):25-33.
  7. Cho SH, Chun SI. The basal electrical skin resistance of acupuncture points in normal subjects. Yonsei Med J. 1994;35(4):464-474.
  8. Colbert AP, Yun J, Larsen A, Edinger T, Gregory WL, Thong T. Skin impedance measurements for acupuncture research: development of a continuous recording system. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008;5(4):443-450.
  9. Grimnes S, Martinsen OG. Bioimpedance & Bioelectricity Basics 2000, UK: Academic Press
  10. Gupta D, Lammersfeld CA, Bashi PG, King J, Dahlk SL, Grutsch JF, Lis CG. Bioelectrical impedance phase angle as a prognostic indicator in breast cancer. BMC Cancer. 2008;8(1):249.
  11. Gupta D, Lis CG, Dahlk SL, Vashi PG, Grutsch JF, Lammersfeld CA. Bioelectrical impedance phase angle as a prognostic indicator in advanced pancreatic cancer. Br J Nutr. 2004;92(6):957-962.
  12. Gupta D, Lammersfeld CA, Burrows JL, Dahlk SL, Vashi PG, Grutsch JF, Hoffman S, Lis CG. Bioelectrical impedance phase angle in clinical practice: implications for prognosis in advanced colorectal cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80(6):1634-1638.
  13. Horton JW, VanRavenswaay AC. Electrical impedance of the human body. Journal of the Franklin Institute, 1935;220(5):557-572.
  14. Johng HM, Cho JH, Shin HS, Soh KS, Koo TH, Choi SY, Koo HS, Park MS. Frequency dependence of impedances at the acupuncture point Quze (PC3). IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 2002;21(2):33-36.
  15. Kaptchuk TJ. Acupuncture: Theory, Efficacy, and Practice. Ann Intern Med. 2002;136(5):374-383.
  16. Langevin HM, Yandow JA. Relationship of Acupuncture Points and Meridians to Connective Tissue Planes. Anat Rec. 2002;269(6):257-265.
  17. Lee MS, Jeong SY, Lee YH, Jeong DM, Do YG, Ko SB. Differences in Electrical Conduction Properties Between Meridians and Non-meridians. Am J Chin Med. 2005;33(5):723-728.
  18. Moffet HH. How might acupuncture work? A systematic review of physiologic rationales from clinical trials. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006;6:25.
  19. Ott M, Fischer H, Polat H. Bioelectrical impedance analysis as a predictor of survival in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol. 1995;9(1):20-25.
  20. Park HD, Song MH, Myoung HS, Lee KJ. A New Acupuncture Point Detection Using the Impedance Measurement System based on ANF and Phase-Space-Method. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2007;2007:2572-2574.
  21. Pearson S, Colbert AG, McNames J, Baumgartner M, Hammerschiag R. Electrical Skin Impedance at Acupuncture Points. J Altern Complement Med. 2007;13(4):409-418.
  22. Poon C. Comments on "Laplace Plane Analysis of Transient Impedance Between Acupuncture Points Li-4 and Li-12". IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 1979;26(3):181-182.
  23. Prokhorov EF, Prokhorova TE, Gonzalez-Hernandez J, Kovalenko YA, Llamas F, Moctezuma S, Romero H. In vivo DC and AC measurements at acupuncture points in health and unhealthy people. Complement Ther Med. 2006;14(1):31-38.
  24. Prokhorov EF, Gonzalez-Hernandez J, Vorobiev YV, Morales-Sanchez E, Prokhorova TE, Zaldivar Lelo de Larrea G. In vivo electrical charactersitics of human skin, including at biologically active points. Med Biol Eng Comput. 2000;38(5):507-511.
  25. Reichmanis M, Marino AA, Becker RO. Electrical Correlates of Acupuncture Points. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 1975;22(6):533-535.
  26. Vickland V, Rogers C, Craig AR, Tran YH. Electrodermal activity as a possible physiological marker for acupuncture. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2008;14(2):83-89.
  27. Wong WSF, Lim CED, Smith W. A new bioimpedance research device (BIRD) for measuring the electrical impedance of acupuncture meridians. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(3):257-264.
  28. Yung KT. A birdcage model for the Chinese Meridian System: part I. A channel as a transmission line. Am J Chin Med. 2004;32(5):815-828.
  29. Zarowitz BJ, Pilla AM. Bioelectrical impedance in clinical practice. DICP. 1989;23(7-8):548-555.
  30. Zhang W, Xu R, Zhu Z. The influence of acupuncture on the impedance measured by four electrodes on meridians. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1999;24(3-4):181-188.