Japanese Acupuncture and Moxibustion (Online)

JAM  2022;Vol.16(1):21-24

Establishment of a safe acupuncture method for the psoas and iliopsoas muscles using ultrasound imaging equipment

ODAGI Satoru1), TANIGUCHI Hiroshi1), FUKUDA Yasushi1)
KOYAMA Koji1), TANAKA Shigeki1), SAKAI Tomomi1)
1)Tokyo Ariake University of Medical and Health Sciences


The iliopsoas muscle is composed of the psoas major and iliacus muscles. There are currently no objective method regarding the safe angles and insertion depths of acupuncture needles for these muscles. This study aimed to investigate the safe insertion points of acupuncture needles into the psoas major and iliacus muscles using ultrasound imaging equipment.
Sixteen healthy male volunteers participated in this study. An ultrasound system (LOGIQ-e, GE, USA) and a linear probe (GE, USA) were used. Acupuncture needles measuring 60 mm were used for the psoas major muscle and 50 mm for the iliacus muscle. The distance, depth, and angle of the needles were measured at the point where muscle contraction was obtained using an electro acupuncture stimulator (PicorinaⓇ, SEIRIN Co., Japan).
The insertion point for the psoas major muscle was 4.5±1.8 cm below the anterior superior iliac spine, 2.9±1.3 cm lateral to the femoral artery, 78±14° vertically and 51±10° horizontally from this point, 4.7±0.4 cm deep, and the needle was confirmed to be oblique medially. On the other hand, the iliacus muscle acupuncture point was located 2.2±0.4 cm medial to the anterior superior iliac spine, from which acupuncture was performed at 64±18° vertically, 58±9° horizontally, and 3.2±0.6 cm deep. In all subjects, we could confirm that the psoas major muscle moved in conjunction with the contraction of the iliacus muscle due to electro-acupuncture stimulation.
It was suggested that the above method could be safely applied to people whose age, body size, and sex are similar to those of the subjects in this study.
Additionally, ultrasound images confirmed that electrical stimulation of the iliacus muscle induced contraction of the psoas major muscle, suggesting that indirect contraction of the iliopsoas muscle, including the psoas major, by electroacupuncture to the iliacus s muscle may be utilized as a treatment for low back pain.

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