In traditional acupuncture, fine needles are inserted and rotated at defined points that correspond to specific therapeutic effects, which can occur locally or at a distance from the needling point. The majority of acupuncture points co-align with fascial planes under the skin, which present more subcutaneous loose connective tissue [1] (Fig 1 – black dot). Needle rotation induces this connective tissue specifically to couple to and wind around the needle, forming a whorl of alignment and generating measurable force on the needle that is significantly higher at fascial planes in comparison to insertion above a muscle (Fig 1A – black dot) [2, 3]. At these planes, the loose connective tissue is bounded on two sides by skeletal muscle and generally becomes narrower with increasing depth, presenting distinct geometry and boundary conditions compared to locations above a muscle, which resembles an infinite plane (Fig 1B&C).

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