A new bioimpedance research device (BIRD) for measuring the electrical impedance of acupuncture meridians.
A Single-Power Alternating Current (SPAC) instrument was used to measure the low-impedance acupoints around Ho-Ku (LI-4), Yang-Hsi (LI-5), Yang-Ch'ih (TB-4), Yang-Ku (SI-5), T'ai-Yuan (Lu-9), Ta-Lung (EH-7) and Shen-Men (He-7). A four-electrode instrument was used to measure the subcutaneous impedance at these low-impedance acupoints and adjacent control points on 12 healthy people. The mean subcutaneous impedance at the acupoints was 49.8+/-8.4 omega, significantly lower than the impedance of 53.5+/-omega 9.3 omega for the control points (P < 0.005). Of the seven acupoints, five (71%) had significantly lower impedances than the mean impedance for the adjacent control points. Seven of the 14 control points had significantly higher impedances than the adjacent acupoints, with most control points (93%) having higher impedances than adjacent acupoints. In conclusion, subcutaneous impedance is lower at the low-impedance points as measured with the SPAC two-electrode method. One interpretation of these results is that more interstitial fluid lies beneath the low-impedance acupoints.