Date of Award

Summer 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

MengChu Zhou

Second Advisor

Edwin Hou

Third Advisor

Jie Hu

Fourth Advisor

Edip Niver

Fifth Advisor

Zhixiong Chen


The Meridian system conceived by the ancient Chinese has been described and referenced for more than a thousand years. The Meridians meaning paths are the main trunks that run longitudinally within the body. The Meridian system consists of about 400 acupuncture nodes and 20 Meridian channels connecting most of these points. It deals with the routing and distribution of certain signals that may affect physiological functions. It integrates meridians, tissues and organs into a complex system.

Initially, modeling of the acupuncture system is investigated. The physical effect of injecting an acupuncture needle at a node is suggested by an equivalent model of a current (voltage) source based on a simple Faraday disk generator concept. The motion of the needle due to hand manipulation in the presence of Earth's magnetic fields acts as a Faraday's dynamo and causes accumulation of positive (negative) charges at the tip of the needle. Due to clockwise (counter clockwise) rotation, further increase of accumulated charges at the tip results in their release in the form of an equivalent current (voltage) source. This effect has been enhanced by connecting a variable frequency source on a needle inserted into one of the nodes of the meridian system. Voltage variations at the adjacent nodes along the same meridian are measured and the relative connectivity has been observed to verify the concept of a network. It is observed that the induced voltages are proportional to the corresponding path lengths, and further more, the existence paths

are found to be frequency dependent. An equivalent transmission line model is suggested. The presence of minute electrical currents also suggests that there is magnetic field along the meridian and therefore the inclusion of series inductance is appropriate. This has already been confirmed by SQUID measurements carried out and reported by [Lo 2003]. The presence of the inductive (resistive) path suggests that capacitive effects due to accompanying electric fields have to be included as shunt capacitance in the equivalent model. It shows that distributed resistance and inductance plus the shunt capacitance perfectly simulate the equivalent transmission line that is essential for signal propagation along the meridians of the acupuncture system. Measurements carried out indicate the presence of lossy resistive paths along the meridian consisting of three nodes. This has been carried out in an acupuncture clinic and two human subjects are subjected to testing on three different occasions. Sinusoidal signals in the frequency range between 20 to 80 Hz are used with different amplitudes, and strengths of propagated signals are measured to verify the existence of the electrical transmission path along that meridian.

Additional hypothesis is made suggesting that the cluster water wire can be used to model the pathways of the acupuncture system. One of the reasons for this approach is that cluster water wires are ideal to model tiny nano-size capillaries. They may be present but their presences have not been verified yet physically, even through the SQUID measurements confirm the flow of minute currents along the acupuncture meridians.

Petri net formulation has been developed as an attractive alternative to model bionetwork consisting of acupuncture nodes and meridians. However, validating this assumption requires an extensive measurement to be carried out, which is beyond the currently available capabilities and resources.

Future work includes much more accurate modeling of pathways and nodes on each meridian, their coupling with each other. Further frequency dependent system identification in terms of equivalent parameters and their coupling behavior in the complex network, i.e., Petri net formation is required to solve the unexplained acupuncture meridian system. The presence of 20 meridians involving more than 400 nodes suggests that the acupuncture system is ideal to model a biological network.