By Sara Calabro

In the ongoing debate over whether and how acupuncture works, detractors lean heavily on the claim that you can’t actually see qi and therefore it must not be real. That’s no longer true.

AcuGraph, an imaging technology made by Miridia Acupuncture Technology, measures electrical skin resistance at acupuncture points to determine how well electricity, or qi, is flowing through the body. Based on those measurements, the AcuGraph software identifies potential patterns of disharmony and generates treatment recommendations to help correct the imbalances.

I recently met with Miridia’s founder and the inventor of AcuGraph, Adrian Larsen, to see AcuGraph with my own eyes. I was impressed.

My experience with AcuGraph

Since my experience with AcuGraph was for demonstration purposes, Adrian didn’t perform an intake on me the way an acupuncturist normally would. He didn’t ask me any questions about my health history or how I was feeling. He didn’t look at my tongue or take my pulse. He dove right into showing me how AcuGraph works.

Adrian collected readings at my acupuncture points using the AcuGraph probe. That’s the black wand in the picture below; I held the silver one in my hand while he conducted the assessment. (Learn more about how acupuncture points are selected and how the exam is performed here.)

After Adrian took readings at my acupuncture points, the AcuGraph software translated the findings into an analysis of my body’s meridians. The diagnosis that AcuGraph churned out was spot on.

acugraph_acutake_2Despite knowing nothing about my health prior to the exam, Adrian was able to identify four specific issues that I’ve been struggling with:

Kidney Yin Deficiency
5-7pm energy lull
Pain in the spine around vertebra C7/T1 and T5-T8
Dai Mai, or upper/lower body, imbalance

I was surprised at how accurate the AcuGraph diagnosis was. These are patterns of disharmony that repeatedly come up for me.

Does AcuGraph lead to better results?

AcuGraph basically does what acupuncturists have been doing forever, by reading tongues and pulses, palpating meridians and muscles, and talking to patients.

Some say technology is no substitute for the hands-on connection acupuncturists develop with their patients, that it sends acupuncture down the slippery slope that Western medicine has succumb to—overly reliant on technology at the expense of personal connection.

I agree that technologies like AcuGraph are not substitutes for practitioner skill and intuition, but they’re certainly a worthy adjunct.

Since my one-time AcuGraph demonstration didn’t allow for me to see how my readings change after receiving acupuncture based on the points recommended by AcuGraph, I can’t say for sure that the technology leads to more effective treatments.

But here’s what I do know: In the past, it has taken acupuncturists several visits to identify the imbalances that AcuGraph identified in less than five minutes. Adrian never even asked me a single question!

I’m not advocating for acupuncturists to morph into tech-obsessed automatons.

But if acupuncturists can get to more accurate diagnoses faster, people are more likely to get the treatments they need, which means they’re more likely to keep coming back to acupuncture. And by presenting these diagnoses in a tangible, objective format, AcuGraph helps demystify acupuncture, which helps break down the barriers to entry (and consistency) that prevent so many people from experiencing the relief that acupuncture can offer.

I’ll need to reconvene with Adrian before I can report first hand on whether the treatment recommendations offered by AcuGraph are effective. But even as a diagnostic tool alone, AcuGraph will lead to more people experiencing the benefits of acupuncture.

If AcuGraph sounds intriguing to you, consider sending along this article to your acupuncturist!

Photo by Sara Calabro

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