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Comparative mapping shows that the distribution of acupuncture points on the human body is highly correlated with patterns of mast cell (MC) distribution. An American researcher evaluated skin biopsies microscopically in order to estimate mast cell density at different body areas. Densities of acupuncture points at different body sites were also calculated. After examining 285 skin biopsies, MC enriched special sites (MESS) were found to occur at peripheral parts of the body and around body orifices. Comparative mapping showed that patterns of MC distribution were highly correlated with the distribution of acupuncture points on the 14 classical acupuncture meridians, with the exception of the trunk areas. Mapping also revealed that all micro-acupuncture systems were located at MESS, including ear, scalp, hand, foot, eye, face and umbilicus. The author concludes that their findings provide evidence of a neuroimmune basis of acupuncture, suggesting that MC are a target for acupuncture stimulation and serve as a tissue marker for acupuncture points.

The Neuroimmune Basis of Acupuncture: Correlation of Cutaneous Mast Cell Distribution with Acupuncture Systems in Human. Am J Chin Med. 2019;47(8):1781-1793.