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concept of the 'contractile field' (CF), and hypothesized
lateral, dorsal, ventral, helical, appendicular, radial and
chiralic fields. The outer fields correspond with acu-
puncture meridian lines, but the association with
muscles and organs is more complex than the mapping
that forms the bulk of this topic.
To quote Beach:
Bioscience has looked in vain for meridians. Without a
modern understanding of what was mapped, mainstream
medicine tends to reject the meridial concept. By using a
methodology available to the Chinese, i.e. recoil from a
noxious stimulus allied to the CF model, meridians are
hypothesized to be 'emergent lines of shape control'.
When needled or heated, recoil vectors develop along
the body wall in predictable and sensible patterns. A
blunt needle will elicit afield of contractility that the
CF model aids us to understand. In essence it is
hypothesized that the Chinese mapped the minimum
number of lines, in exactly the right location, to
accurately/predictably control subtle human shape in
three dimensions. Shape and function are usually
correlated. The correlation between the CF model and the
deeply detailed and nuanced Chinese meridial map is
uncanny. It was the meridial map that suggested to the
author the association between the sense organs and the
CFs, an association that was conceptually off the radar
from a conventional musculoskeletal perspective. 29
9. Langevin HM,* Konofagou EE, Badger GJ et al. Tissue
displacements during acupuncture using ultrasound
elastography techniques. Ultrasound in Medicine and
Biology 2004; 30:1173-1183.
10. Langevin HM,* Cornbrooks CJ, Taatjes DJ. Fibroblasts form
a body-wide cellular network. Histochemistry and Cell
Biology 2004; 122:7-15.
11. Langevin HM,* Yandow JA. Relationship of acupuncture
points and meridians to connective tissue planes.
Anatomical Record 2002; 269:257-265.
12. Langevin HM,* Rizzo D, Fox JR et al. Dynamic
morphometric characterization of local connective tissue
network structure using ultrasound. BMC Systems Biology
13. Bouffard NA, Cutroneo K, Badger GJ et al.* Tissue stretch
decreases soluble TGF-pl and type-1 procollagen in mouse
subcutaneous connective tissue: evidence from ex vivo
and in vivo models. Journal of Cellular Physiology 2008;
14. Storch KN, Taatjes DJ, Boufard NA et al* Alpha smooth
muscle actin distribution in cytoplasm and nuclear
invaginations of connective tissue fibroblasts.
Histochemistry and Cell Biology 2007; 127(5):523-530.
15. Langevin HM,* Bouffard NA, Churchill DL et al. Connective
tissue fibroblast response to acupuncture:
dose-dependent effect of bi-directional needle rotation.
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2007;
16. Langevin HM,* Sherman KJ. Pathophysiological model for
chronic low back pain integrating connective tissue and
nervous system mechanisms. Medical Hypotheses 2007;
17. Langevin HM.* Connective tissue: a body-wide signaling
network? Medical Hypotheses 2006; 66(6):1074-1077.
18. Iatridis JC, Wu J, Yandow JA, Langevin HM.* Subcutaneous
tissue mechanical behavior is linear and viscoelastic under
uniaxial tension. Connective Tissue Research 2003;
19. Langevin HM,* Yandow JA. Relationship of acupuncture
points and meridians to connective tissue planes.
Anatomical Record (Part B: New Anatomist) 2002;
20. Langevin HM,* Churchill DL, Wu J et al. Evidence of
connective tissue involvement in acupuncture. FASEB
Journal 2002; 16:872-874.
21. Langevin HM,* Churchill DL, Fox JR. Biomechanical
response to acupuncture needling in humans. Journal of
Applied Physiology 2001; 91:2471-2478.
22. Langevin HM,* Churchill DL, Cipolla MJ. Mechanical
signaling through connective tissue: a mechanism for the
therapeutic effect of acupuncture. FASEB Journal 2001;
23. Beach P. What is the meridian system encoding? Part 1.
European Journal of Oriental Medicine 1997; 2(3):21-28.
24. Beach P. What is the meridian system encoding? Part 2.
European Journal of Oriental Medicine 1997; 2(4):25-33.
25. Beach P. What is the meridian system encoding?
Part 3. European Journal of Oriental Medicine 1998;
26. Beach P. The manipulation of shape - muscles and
meridians. New Zealand Journal of (Medical) Acupuncture
27. Beach P. Meridians: emergent lines of shape control. Medical
Acupuncture 2007; 19(2).
28. Beach P. Meridians: emergent lines of shape control.
Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
2007; 2(l):5-8.
29. Beach P. The contractile field - a new model of human
movement - Part 1. Journal of Bodywork and Movement
Therapies 2007; 11:(4)308-317.
'Shape control' might be the guiding principle that
unites the signaling response through the connective
tissue and the odd but intuitively apt course of the
meridian lines across the body. Coupled with Becker's
work, which suggests the connective tissue network
could have had signaling and contraction functions that
pre-date the organized muscle network, Anatomy Trains
lines and/or the contractile fields could represent primi-
tive lines of retraction away from noxious stimuli, or
lines of reach toward favorable stimuli. 32,3 3
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tradition? Medical Acupuncture 85(9):e42. Contact details for
Peter T. Dorsher MS MD: Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL; e-mail:
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course. Forres, Scotland: Findhorn Press; 2007.
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7. Langevin HM,* Bouffard NA, Badger GJ et al. Subcutaneous
tissue fibroblast cytoskeletal remodeling induced by
acupuncture: evidence for a mechanotransduction-based
mechanism. Journal of Cellular Physiology 2006;
8. Langevin HM,* Storch KS, Cipolla MJ et al. Fibroblast
spreading induced by connective tissue stretch involves
intracellular redistribution of a- and P -actin. Histochemistry
and Cell Biology 2006; 14:1^9.
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