One of the most common critiques of Traditional Chinese medical theory has been the inability to verify the existence of acupuncture meridians. For many opponents of TCM this lack of physical basis has served as a means of invalidating the entire system. Recently, however, Korean researchers within the Department of Physics and Anatomy at Seoul University believe they may have discovered anatomical meridians. Their research is based off of studies done by Bong Han Kim, a Korean research scientist, whose discoveries were largely ignored by the medical community.
These ‘meridians’, which are known as Bonghan Ducts (BHDs), are small transparent threadlike structures closely resembling fibrin strings. The ability to discern BHDs from fibrin strings is a recent development due to the discovery of a suitable staining agent (Trypan Blue) selective to the ducts. Bong Han Kim’s research was unable to be replicated due to his omission of this information. His original research simply mentioned the injection of a blue dye into an acupuncture point that he later observed to have circulated on a pathway similar to an acupuncture meridian.
Bonghan Ducts have been found in large arteries and veins, inside the heart, in the fascia surrounding the organs and in large lymph vessels. Though there is no certainty of their exact function, they are believed to be a part of a circulatory system possibly for hormones and tissue-regenerating materials. Other theories include the possibility that they serve as a novel pathway for cancer metastasis.
Amelie de Mahy L.Ac, providing acupuncture and Chinese herbs to the communities of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Danville, Concord and Pleasant Hill.