Although Acupuncture is now well accepted in the West, the medical profession have never really accepted that 'Meridians' had a physical existence.
They couldn't see them so they didn't exist.
But what if the reason they couldn't see them was because they weren't using the right equipment? A number of scientific papers have now been published which show that there is another circulatory system within the body that corresponds to the paths of the traditonal 'meridians'. These 'meridians' or Bonghan channels were first discovered by a North Korean scientist, Kim Bong-han and he published several papers describing them in the 1960s. Kim Bong-Han injected a dye into acupuncture points on rabbits and charted the spread of the dye with an electron microscope. The isotope outlined a system of fine ducts measuring between 0.5 and 1.5 microns in diameter that matched the paths of the classical Acupuncture Meridians. These ducts, now known as Bonghan ducts, or channels, after Kim Bong-Han, are almost completely transparent and are extremely fine — they cannot be seen with a surgical microscope as they look just like the surrounding tissue. Detection requires special dyes and electron microscopy techniques/equipment or radio-active isotopes and gamma-imaging equipment. Unfortunately, in 1967, Kim Bong-Han's sponsor in the North Korean government was purged; Kim Bong-Han has not been heard of since. Also, because he did not give exact details of his methods, his work was difficult to reproduce and thus discounted by most scientists. There were a few studies carried out in the 20 years after his disappearance but none were very successful.
However, in 1985, a French researcher 'Pierre de Vernejoul' was able to verify Bong-Han's work by injecting radioactive isotopes into acupuncture points on humans and watching what happened with a gamma-imaging camera; he was able to show that the isotope travelled along traditional meridian pathways for about 12 inches in four to six minutes. He was also able to show that the isotopes did not travel in the same manner when injected into random parts of the body (not acupuncture points) thus further indicating that meridians are a separate pathway in the body. In an extension of his research, he injected an isotope into an acupuncture point and then stimulated points further along the meridian with a needle; he was able to show that this increased the flow in the meridian. His experiments have been replicated many times, by himself and others, always with the same results.
So far, researchers have discovered that:
Research has now led to these channels being compared to Fibre-optic channels in the body (i.e. the fact that they conduct light means that they may be capable of carrying a very high density of information, far beyond what can be conveyed by the nervous system). There is also speculation that they may be high-energy pathways through the body (just like meridians!).
Some of the Research Studies are listed below
So, in a few decades, 'meridians' have moved from being an imaginary concept to having a very definite reality. They are now called Bong-han channels or, sometimes, the Primo-vascular system. New research is about how they work; not whether they exist.