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Acupuncture MRI imaging pioneer Dr. Joie Pierce Jones has died at the age of 72. MRI and ultrasound work of Dr. Jones on acupuncture was huge. His revolutionary work led to the first scientific evidence of the existence of acupuncture points and their effects on the brain. Dr. Jones had a distinguished career in the medical applications of ultrasound technology and developed several new ultrasonic imaging techniques for the medical field. Dr. Jones also served as a faculty member of Case Western University (Cleveland, Ohio) and at the University of California, Irvine as a professor of radiological sciences.


Dr. Jones’ impact on acupuncture research is nothing short of revolutionary. Together with Dr. Young Bae, their team was able to use MRI technology to map the specific effects of acupuncture on the brain. Dr. Bae is both an acupuncturist and holds a Ph.D. in high energy physics from the University of California, Berkley. Dr. Jones received his Ph.D. studying underwater acoustics at Brown University.


3D Imaging

The work of Jones and Bae using a combination of fMRI and ultrasound technology led to ground breaking discoveries in a variety of fields including acupuncture. Dr. Jones developed a 50 MHz ultrasonic technique to digitize reflected signals from acupuncture points stimulated with an ultrasonic pulse. The results produced a 3D image of the size, shape and depth of the acupuncture points. Further, the effects of stimulating one acupuncture point on the changes in the size, shape and depth of other acupuncture points on the same acupuncture meridian were also measurable. Dr. Jones developed the ability to watch this process in realtime.


The work of Jones and Bae combined ultrasound with fMRI investigations into the effects of acupuncture on the brain. It took 101 computers operating simultaneously to measure the results from an acupuncture point stimulated during the acquisition of the data. Each 3 second snapshot of acupuncture point stimulation produces a half terabyte of data. The results were somewhat surprising.


The findings are as follows. Quantitative ultrasound methods can image acupuncture points. Ultrasound at higher intensities can stimulate acupuncture points in much the same way as do acupuncture needles. In some cases, the stimulation levels were indistinguishable between acupuncture needling and ultrasound stimulation when measuring cortical responses. The acupuncture points actually twist around needles as they are stimulated. Acupuncture points can change in size, shape and location over short periods of time. Dr. Jones and his colleagues presented this material to the Annual Meeting of SSE in La Jolla, California in 2001 and then at the University of Virginia in 2002. Next, the results were published in Medical Acupuncture in 2004 and then in Acoustical Imaging in 2004 as well.


Dr. Jones and Dr. Bae delineated three pathways by which acupuncture sends signals to the brain using fMRI measurements. The very fast signal is less than or equal to 0.8ms, another signal travels along nerve pathways and arrives at the brain in 180 - 200ms and a very slow signal arrives at the brain in 15 - 25 seconds as measured from stimulation of acupuncture point UB67 on the foot. The very slow signal travels at a rate of 5 - 10 cm per second. The stimulation process communicates to other acupuncture points along the meridian at this rate. Some subjects could physically sense this process, sometimes referred to as the stimulation of Qi. 


Discovery: Speed

The initial time between ultrasonic stimulation of an acupuncture point and brain activity is less than or equal to 0.8ms. Dr. Jones noted that this is two orders of magnitude faster than any other known process. If a non-acupuncture point is stimulated, this rapid response is not observed. If one stimulates a true acupuncture point, the speed is less than or equal to 0.8ms, which is incredibly fast and unequalled. Only acupuncture points carry information at this speed.



Dr. Jones and Dr. Bae measured acupuncture point specificity. The first studies were conducted from 1996 to 1998. The team compared acupuncture point stimulation at UB67 with flashes of light to the eyes. Subjects first received acupuncture point stimulation to UB67 while blindfolded. The fMRI measurements showed that the visual cortices of the brain lit up from the acupuncture point stimulation. Next, subjects were not blindfolded, did not receive point stimulation but instead were exposed to flashes of light to the eyes. The same visual cortex response occurred in both cases. Stimulation of acupuncture point UB67 and light stimulation produced the same effects on the brain. Stimulation of non-acupuncture points did not produce this effect. UB67 has been indicated for the treatment of eye disorders within the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) system for over 1,000 years. The work of Dr. Jones brought this traditional indication into the realm of the modern scientific paradigm.


Shift in Thinking

Five nobel prize winners wrote supportive reviews on the quality of the research. Despite this, Science refused to review the research and Nature refused to publish it although the Tokyo editor noted that the research was fascinating. Some of the pushback on the work of Dr. Jones occurs because it fundamentally shifts the scientific paradigm. The conventional community does not readily accept science that is ultimately ahead of its time. We can only hope that other brave scientists will continue this type of groundbreaking work made possible by Dr. Jones.

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Acupuncture CEU & PDA Online Courses FAQs

Below are a few of the most frequent questions we field. You can also find more on our SUPPORT page. If you still haven’t found your answer, please feel free to contact us anytime. We would love to hear from you.

Are acupuncture CEUs & NCCAOM PDAs valid in my state or province?

HealthCMi CEUs are valid in every state in the USA, including Washington DC and other regions such as Puerto Rico. Most states use the NCCAOM acupuncture CEU/PDA certification that comes with every HealthCMi course.

All courses are valid for specialty certifications from the California Acupuncture Board and the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners. HealthCMi courses are approved for Florida Board of Acupuncture CEs for acupuncture license renewal credit along with other specialty certifications such as the State of Illinois (IDFPR) acupuncture CE sponsor program. If you don’t see your state listed (North Carolina, New York, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Utah, etc.), that is because the rest of the USA is covered by the NCCAOM certification that comes with every HealthCMi course. We even have courses approved through the specialty programs of the State of Nevada Board of Oriental Medicine, ABORM, IVAS, and more. An added bonus, all courses are California Board of Registered Nursing approved, so nurses can get acupuncture CEUs and nursing continuing education credit simultaneously.

In addition, HealthCMi acupuncture CEUs are valid throughout New Zealand, Canada (including CTCMA, BC and CAAA), and Australia for acupuncture continuing education credit.

Check our interactive map to learn more about your CEU credits >

Do acupuncture webinars count as live CEUs?

Yes. In many states that require in-person attendance, live acupuncture webinars count for face-to-face CEU credit. For example, the California Acupuncture Board allows 25 CEUs via distance learning and the other 25 must be live (in a classroom or a live webinar online). New Jersey acupuncturists also benefit from live webinars for in-class requirement fulfillment. In the USA, no quiz is required for live webinars and for CTCMA acupuncturists in British Columbia (Canada), the survey fulfills the 2-way requirement and no quiz is required.

For live webinars, do I need to take a quiz?

Quizzes are not required for live webinars, only for anytime distance learning courses. You may see a quiz button on the learning management system control panel; however, if you try to take a quiz, the system will tell you that it is unnecessary. Make sure to click the download button to get the link to the live webinar. We will also send you a link via email the day before the event.

How do I purchase Acupuncture CEU courses online?

Click on Acupuncture CEUs in the top menu to view all course listings and follow the links. Simply choose the courses you like, add to cart, and get CEU credit from our online learning system.

HealthCMi courses are NCCAOM Diplomate PDA (applies to most States), California CEU, Florida CE, Texas CAE, CTCMA (BC, Canada), CAAA, Illinois, and State of Nevada Board of Oriental Medicine approved for continuing education credit hours and more. Massachusetts licensed acupuncturist can obtain their herbal medicine hours or acupuncture category required hours. All 50 states and territories in the USA are approved for acupuncture CEU credit for HealthCMi courses. Our acupuncture CEUs are also valid throughout Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and much more.

Check listings for ABORM approved courses. All courses for acupuncturists are also California Board of Registered Nursing approved.

How long do I have to take the Acupuncture CEU courses online?

There is no time limit for course completion of your Acupuncture CEU or PDA courses.

How many times can I retake Acupuncture CEU course quizzes?

You make re-take quizzes until a passing grade is achieved. A certificate of completion is automatically generated, and you may print it. There is no extra charge to re-take quizzes.