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 Current Bibliographies in Medicine: Acupuncture: Current Bibliographies in Medicine: Acupuncture 
National Institutes of Health ©

Databases found to contain numerous unique bibliographic references:

Allied and Alternative Medicine produced by the British Library, Yorkshire, U.K.
EMBASE® (formerly Excerpta Medica) produced by Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam
Manual, Alternative and Natural TherapyTM (MANTISTM) produced by Action Potential, Inc., Denton, TX
MEDLINE® produced by the National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD

Additional databases useful for veterinary literature:

AGRICOLA produced by the National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD
CAB ABSTRACTS produced by CAB International, Wallingford, U.K.

For the purposes of this conference, the term 'acupuncture' has been defined as "stimulation, primarily by the use of solid needles, of traditionally and clinically defined points on and beneath the skin, in an organized fashion for therapeutic and/or preventive purposes." The original acupuncture points (or "acupoints") are specific superficial anatomic locations defined in traditional Asian texts. The skin on or over these points is generally lower in transdermal electrical resistance than the skin surrounding them. There is considerable overlap between these traditional acupoints and points defined by other means in modern physical medicine such as "trigger points," "motor points," or "osteopathic lesions" (among other terms). These points are often palpable subcutaneously as either mild depressions or small and sometimes tender nodules. In traditional Asian medicine these points are stimulated either by puncture and manual manipulation of solid needles or by local heating. Heating is generally accomplished by the burning of dried, powdered Artemisia vulgaris (moxa), referred to as "moxibustion." This moxa is either placed or held just above the acupoint by the acupuncturist (indirect moxibustion), attached to a needle penetrating the point, or applied directly to the skin (direct moxibustion, generally removed prior to causing any detectable skin-burn). In modern times, additional methods of stimulating the acupoints include applications of electric current to needles in the points or skin electrodes over the points, injections into the points, laser-light directed onto the points, or finger-pressure massage of selected points, called "acupressure." In addition, many new points and whole new systems of points have been described on specific body-parts, leading to (for instance) scalp-acupuncture, hand-acupuncture, and ear-acupuncture.

What combination of acupoints are the best points to stimulate in which ways for various clinical problems has been the subject of writing and argument for centuries. Different systems and approaches are associated with various schools of thought and national traditions in Asia and the West. Acupuncture practitioners in European countries such as France, Italy, Germany, and England have evolved their own approaches to the clinical use of acupuncture points in the past century. Some of these are based on approaches popular at different times and places in Asian history, or based on diverse interpretations of traditional Chinese texts, or on different syntheses of material from these texts with the modern information derived from neurology, physiology, information theory, and biophysics. Much of the clinical literature of acupuncture is concerned with descriptions of these various approaches to clinical problems based on different theories or schools of thought. Most of that literature has not been included in this bibliography. While some historical or conceptual pieces have been included for the sake of completeness, the main purpose of this bibliography has been to compile citations of articles containing actual clinical data from defined numbers of human or animal subjects, to help answer the question of whether or not acupoint stimulation had a detectable and useful effect as performed in that particular study.

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