Inner Pass Acupuncture Point

Inner Pass Acupuncture Point

Inner Pass Acupuncture Point

Pericardium 6 or Inner Pass Acupuncture Point Improves Health by Reducing Stress

Pericardium 6 or Inner Pass (PC6, Neiguan) is one of the most well-known, highly researched and often utilized Acupuncture points. It is indicated to calm the spirit and regulate the heart, making it useful for conditions like heart pain, palpitations, hypertension, insomnia, fear, mania, nausea and menstrual irregularities to name a few. How can one little point benefit so many vastly different conditions? Because it works to treat the underlying cause and common denominator of most illnesses: stress.

Recent studies are proving that PC6 stimulation has powerful effects in the body - acting to relieve stress, as well as to repair the damage stress has already caused. It is also a well-known acupressure point for nausea. This action has been utilized by the development of wristbands that stimulate the point to treat motion sickness.

PC6 is located on the inner forearm, 2 cun distal from the crease of the wrist. Cun are the measurements used by acupuncturists to locate points on the body. Its measure is unique to each individual's anatomical structure, to compensate for differences in body types. 1 cun is approximately the width of the individual's thumb.


New Research on Inner Pass

One recent study by Kim et al. looked at both the detrimental effects of stress and the subsequent relief and restoration of health PC6 can provide. Rats exposed to chronic mild stress exhibited decreased memory and retention as well as significantly lowered Acetylcholine esterase (AchE). In the study, PC6 was then stimulated while biochemical and behavioral changes were monitored. The study found that, AchE, or Acetylcholinesterase, brain activity was increased by PC6 stimulation and that the rats who received acupuncture at PC6 were able to restore AchE activity faster than those in the control group.

AchE, which is found primarily in the cholinergic nervous system and neuromuscular junctions, plays a vital role in synapse transmission. It is responsible for neurotransmitter conversion and the breakdown of acetylcholine to choline and acetate. It is responsible for the termination of synaptic transmission, which allows relaxation to occur.

AchE levels are directly related to Acetylcholine levels. Without AchE, Acetylcholine is allowed to build up. Depending on the degree of excess, high Acetylcholine can cause a spectrum of symptoms, including aggression, depression, neuromuscular paralysis and even asphyxiation. Low levels can be detrimental as well, causing impaired memory function. This proves the importance of having balanced Acetylcholine levels. Acupuncture's ability to balance AchE is beneficial because it works to balance Acetylcholine levels, resulting in both improved memory and relaxation.

This study also looked at behavioral changes of the rats using passive avoidance tests: the rat would be trained not to step into a hole and then repeatedly tested every day for 6 days to monitor retention. The group exposed to chronic mild stress exhibited impaired memory, but again, the group that then received treatment at PC6 had much better retention, improved memory, and learned skills than the control. The study concluded that PC6 could be used to improve memory, increase AchE hippocampus reactivity and repair stress-induced damage to learning and memory.

Keep in mind, TCM is a highly complex medical system that functions within a paradigm all its own. There at least 360 standard acupuncture points on the classical meridians and over 100 extra points. Most importantly, treatments are tailored to the individual, so any study using standardized treatments are not utilizing the medicine completely. These studies are helpful to show some of the many potential changes acupuncture induces within the body, but its healing powers may simply go beyond the parameters we can currently measure.

Sources for this article include:
Brett, J. Point Location I & II. University of Bridgeport Acupuncture Institute. Bridgeport, CT. 2011.

Deadman P, Al-Khafaji M, Baker K. A Manual of Acupuncture. 2001. Journal of Chinese Medicine Publications. England

H.Y. Kim, H.J. Park, S.M. Han, D.H. Hahm, H.J. Lee, K.S. Kim, I. Shim, The effects
of acupuncture stimulation at PC6 (Neiguan) on chronic mild stress-induced
memory loss, Neurosci. Lett. 488 (2011) 225-228.

H.Y. Kim, H.J. Park, S.M. Han, D.H. Hahm, H.J. Lee, K.S. Kim, I. Shim, The effects
of acupuncture stimulation at PC6 (Neiguan) on chronic mild stress-induced
biochemical and behavioral responses, Neurosci. Lett. 460 (2009) 56-60.
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