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NCCIH Research Blog

Requesting Input for an Open-Access Repository or Database for Physiological and Anatomical Ontology of Acupoints

July 8, 2019

Dr. Helene M. Langevin ("Helene Langevin")

Helene M. Langevin, M.D.


National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

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I recently attended the Society for Acupuncture Research’s international research conference in Burlington, Vermont, where I spoke with many researchers keen to pursue rigorous studies on various aspects of acupuncture.

In February, I attended a National Institutes of Health (NIH) workshop on Translating Fundamental Science of Acupuncture Into Clinical Practice for Cancer Symptom Management, Pain, and Substance Abuse, co-organized by NCCIH and the National Cancer Institute. Speakers and participants at that workshop noted that there was a need for a database to deposit, share, and compare anatomical and physiological data associated with acupoints among various studies, as there are no NIH-sponsored databases or resources available to the research community.

The acupuncture research community has generated a substantial amount of anatomical, biochemical, physiological, and behavioral data. However, a lack of consensus on the location and functional significance of specific acupoints (locations on the body that can be stimulated using a variety of methods including, but not restricted to, acupuncture needles) has hampered substantial development of rigorous research evidence on acupuncture’s therapeutic value. To address this issue, NCCIH and our NIH partners are interested in receiving input from the broader research community on the value of an open-access repository or database for acupoints and on key criteria and elements that would make this resource most useful.

We recently published a Request for Information (RFI): Important Considerations for Potential Creation of an Open-Access Repository or Database for Physiological and Anatomical Ontology of Acupoints.

I encourage you to review the RFI and share your input regarding the creation of this repository/database by September 4, 2019* using our online form:
/rfi-open-access-acupoint-response (Response form no longer available.)

We look forward to hearing from you! If you have questions, please leave a comment below or contact us at

*Editor's Note: The deadline to submit a response was extended to September 4, 2019 and announced through a Notice in the NIH Guide.


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