Photobiomodulation Therapy and Stem Cells

Summary of the Connection Between Traditional Medicine and Modern Studies on the Point ST36 (Zúsānlî)

Traditional Understanding

In traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, the acupuncture point ST36, also known as Zúsānlî or “Leg Three Miles,” is renowned for its health benefits, particularly its ability to prolong life. This point is typically stimulated through techniques like acupuncture and moxibustion. According to traditional beliefs, stimulating ST36 can enhance the body’s qi (vital energy), boost immunity, and improve overall vitality.

Modern Scientific Research

Recent studies have begun to uncover scientific evidence that supports the traditional claims about the benefits of stimulating ST36.

  1. Moxibustion and Telomere Length:
    • A study published on PubMed investigated the effects of moxibustion on ST36. The research found that moxibustion at this point can lengthen telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes that play a crucial role in cellular aging and longevity .
  2. Photobiomodulation Therapy and Stem Cells:
    • Another study explored the impact of photobiomodulation therapy using a self-heal frequency laser on the tibial area, which corresponds to the location of ST36. The findings revealed a significant increase in the concentration of circulating stem cells and macrophages, suggesting enhanced regenerative capabilities and potential anti-aging effects .

Bridging Traditional and Modern Perspectives

The convergence of ancient knowledge and modern scientific findings highlights the following connections:

  • Telomere Lengthening and Longevity: Traditional claims that moxibustion at ST36 can prolong life are supported by modern research showing telomere lengthening, which is associated with delayed cellular aging and increased lifespan.
  • Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration: The use of photobiomodulation therapy on ST36, increasing stem cell concentration, aligns with traditional beliefs in enhanced healing and regenerative abilities when this point is stimulated.

Implications for Integrative Medicine

These findings suggest that ancient practices like moxibustion and acupuncture, which have been used for centuries to promote health and longevity, have measurable biological effects that modern science can quantify and explain. This integrative approach can lead to more comprehensive healthcare strategies that combine the wisdom of traditional medicine with the rigor of modern scientific research.


  1. Study on Moxibustion and Telomere Length: “Effects of moxibustion on telomere length in ST36” (PubMed ID: 33788432).
  2. Study on Photobiomodulation and Stem Cells: Oron, A., Efrati, S., Doenyas-Barak, K., Tuby, H., Maltz, L., & Oron, U. “Photobiomodulation Therapy to Autologous Bone Marrow in Humans Significantly Increases the Concentration of Circulating Stem Cells and Macrophages: A Pilot Study.”

By integrating the traditional practices with contemporary scientific research, there is potential for developing new therapeutic techniques that maximize the health benefits derived from ancient knowledge.


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