Ancient Mysteries

Scientific breakthroughs usually follow years—even centuries—of skepticism because untested ideas go against conventional thought. Yet discoveries continue to unleash the knowledge that will eventually become commonplace.

Take acupuncture, for example. This form of treatment—pain management by the use of thin, strategically placed needles—has been around since 100 B.C. China, yet is still met with skepticism in Western society.

That opinion might soon change due to the work of an Auburn researcher who calls his discovery of a primo-vascular system the most exciting research of a career filled with accomplishments. Vitaly Vodyanoy, professor of anatomy and physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has used his personally invented, patented microscopy system to confirm the existence of this primo-vascular system that could provide a scientific foundation for acupuncture and other treatments such as osteopathic medicine.

“Even with our microscope, you cannot see the vessels until they are touched because they are transparent, but they turn a yellowish color when touched. The width of the node is only 1 mm, and the fine structure of the node can only be seen using high-resolution light microscopy,” said Vodyanoy.

He is collaborating with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, or LECOM, in Pennsylvania to test his hypothesis that the nodes, when activated by acupuncture, osteopathic manipulation, pressure or laser, release stem cells that flow to organs where they replace injured cells and become organ cells. He aims to characterize the primo-vascular system in humans and examine the potential relationships between this system and osteopathic manipulative therapy.