ABSTRACT The di-zhen (DZ) is an ancient type of acupuncture needle with a history dating back more than 2000 years. Unlike modern acupuncture needles, the DZ is not inserted subcutaneously, and is safely and commonly used at the bedside. The mechanisms underlying its effects are not known. In this study, we measured sublingual and cutaneous body temperature, pulse rate, oxygen pressure (PO2), oxygen saturation (sO2) and carbon dioxide pressure (PCO2) before and after DZ application in 25 healthy male volunteers. Serum levels of catecholamines (adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine) and white blood cells (WBCs; ratio and number) were traced for one week. Soon after DZ application, pulse rate, body temperature, PO2 and sO2 all decreased. The serum levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline increased, indicating sympathetic dominance, and the number of granulocytes was elevated. One week after DZ application, the number of lymphocyte increased. We therefore suggest that DZ affects body temperature, pulse rate, catecholamine secretion and immune function by inducing transient sympathetic dominance via actions on the autonomic nervous system. These effects are similar to the effects observed with modern needles, which are inserted subcutaneously. Therefore, we consider DZ treatment to be advantageous and safe in modern clinical practice, especially in post-surgical and terminal care, as it avoids the issues with infection and tissue damage sometimes seen with modern acupuncture needles.
Cite this paper
Watanabe, M. , Takano, O. , Tomiyama, C. , Matsumoto, H. , Urahigashi, N. , Kainuma, E. , Madarame, T. , Fukuda, M. and Abo, T. (2012) The effects of application of an ancient type of acupuncture needle on body temperature, immune function and the autonomic nerve system. Health, 4, 775-780. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.410120.
 Dorfer, L., Moser, M., Spindler, K., Bahr, F., Egarter-Vigl, E. and Dohr, G. (1998) 5200-year-old acupuncture in central Europe? Science, 282, 242-243.
 Ma, K. (1992) The roots and development of Chinese acupuncture: From prehistory to early 20th century. Acupuncture in Medicine, 10, 92-99.
 World Health Organization Western Pacific Region (2008) WHO standard acupuncture point locations in the western pacific region. World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Office, Manila.
 Watanabe, M., Takano, O., Tomiyama, C., Matsumoto, H., Kobayashi, T., Madarame, T. and Abo, T. (2012) Skin rubdown with a dry towel, “kanpu-masatsu”, is an aerobic exercise. Biomedical Research, 33, 243-248.
 Ohishi, T., Nukuzuma, C., Seki, A., Watanabe, M., Tomiyama-Miyaji, C., Kainuma, E., Inoue, M., Kuwano, Y. and Abo, T. (2009) Alkalization of blood pH is responsible for survival of cancer patients by mild hyperthermia. Biomedical Research, 30, 95-100.
 Tomiyama-Miyaji, C., Watanabe, M., Ohishi, T., Kanda, Y., Kainuma, E., Bakir, H.Y., Shen, J., Ren, H., Inoue, M., Tajima, K., Bai, X. and Abo, T. (2007) Modulation of the endocrine and immune systems by well-controlled hyperthermia equipment. Biomedical Research, 28, 119-125.
 Watanabe, M., Miyajima, K., Matsui, I., Tomiyama-Miyaji, C., Kainuma, E., Inoue, M., Matsumoto, H., Kuwano, Y. and Abo, T. (2010) Internal environment in cancer patients and proposal that carcinogenesis is adaptive response of glycolysis to overcome adverse internal conditions. Health, 2, 781-788.
 Baker, M.A., Cronin, M.J. and Mountjoy, D.G. (1976) Variability of skin temperature in the waking monkey. American Journal of Physiology, 230, 449-455.
 Mori, H., Nishijo, K., Kawamura, H. and Abo, T. (2002) Unique immunomodulation by electro-acupuncture in humans possibly via stimulation of the autonomic nervous system. Neuroscience Letters, 320, 21-24.
 Kainuma, E., Watanabe, M., Tomiyama-Miyaji, C., Inoue, M., Kuwano, Y., Ren, H. and Abo, T. (2009) Association of glucocorticoid with stress-induced modulation of body temperature, blood glucose and innate immunity. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34, 1459-1468.
 Watanabe, M., Tomiyama-Miyaji, C., Kainuma, E., Inoue, M., Kuwano, Y., Ren, H., Shen, J. and Abo, T. (2008) Role of alpha-adrenergic stimulus in stress-induced modulation of body temperature, blood glucose and innate immunity. Immunology Letters, 115, 43-49.
 Suzuki, S., Toyabe, S., Moroda, T., Tada, T., Tsukahara, A., Iiai, T., Minagawa, M., Maruyama, S., Hatakeyama, K., Endoh, K. and Abo, T. (1997) Circadian rhythm of leucocytes and lymphocytes subsets and its possible correlation with the function of the autonomic nervous system. Clinical & Experimental Immunology, 110, 500-508.
 Tanaka, T.H., Leisman, G. and Nishijo, K. (1997) The physiological responses induced by superficial acupuncture: A comparative study of acupuncture stimulation during exhalation phase and continuous stimulation. International Journal of Neuroscience, 90, 45-58.
 McEwen, B.S. (2000) Allostasis and allostatic load: Implications for neuropsychopharmacology. Neuropsycho-pharmacology, 22, 108-124.
 McEwen, B.S. (2004) Protection and damage from acute and chronic stress, allostasis and allostatic overload and relevance to the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1032, 1-7.
 Abo, T. and Kawamura, T. (2002) Immunomodulation by the autonomic nervous system: Therapeutic approach for cancer, collagen diseases, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Therapeutic Apheresis, 6, 348-357.
 Walsh, B. (2001) Control of infection in acupuncture. Acupuncture in Medicine, 19, 109-111.
 Woo, P.C., Lin, A.W., Lau, S.K. and Yuen, K.Y. (2010) Acupuncture transmitted infections. British Medical Journal, 340, 1147-1152. doi:10.1136/bmj.c1268