Helene Langevin

Dr. Helene Langevin

Helene Langevin, MD

Helene Langevin is a professor in the University of Vermont College of Medicine’s Department of Neurological Sciences. She is best known for characterizing certain cellular and mechanical effects of acupuncture. She is also a Professor in Residence of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Since 2013, Langevin is the Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, jointly owned by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Langevin currently serves as principal investigator of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health.[1] The Boston Globe describes her as a “celebrity” in the world of acupuncture.[2]

Langevin received an MD degree from McGill University in 1978. She did a post doctoral research fellowship in Neurochemistry at the MRC Neurochemical Pharmacology Unit in Cambridge, England, residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is a Professor in Residence of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is also a part-time Professor of Neurology, Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. She is the Principal Investigator of two NIH-funded studies investigating the role of connective tissue in low back pain and the mechanisms of manual and movement based therapies.[3] Her previous studies in humans and animal models have found that “needle grasp”, the biomechanical component of de qi, may be caused by connective tissue winding around the needle.[2]

Helene Langevin was appointed as Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in November 2012.

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Science Meets Practice

Let’s Say Something about Helene’s role in the Secret Life of Fascia

Helene Langevin, M.D., was sworn in as director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) on November 26, 2018. As the principal investigator of several NIH-funded studies, Dr. Langevin’s research interests have centered around the role of connective tissue in chronic musculoskeletal pain and the mechanisms of acupuncture, manual, and movement-based therapies. Her more recent work has focused on the effects of stretching on inflammation resolution mechanisms within connective tissue. She has authored more than 70 original scientific papers and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

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“Fascia is what holds us together. It’s a net that suspends your organs, a high-tech adhesive that holds your cells in place while relaying messages between them. The network is so extensive and ubiquitous that if you were to lose every organ, muscle, bone, nerve and blood vessel, your body would still retain its shape.”

Dr. Langevin

Videos with Dr. Langevin

Dr. Helene Langevin: The Science of Stretch
Conversations That Matter

AcuTalks interview with Dr. Langevin

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Sample of Research by Dr. Langevin

Cellular control of connective tissue matrix tension.

Langevin, Nedergaard M, Howe AK.

Abstract

The biomechanical behavior of connective tissue in response to stretching is generally attributed to the molecular composition and organization of its extracellular matrix. It also is becoming apparent that fibroblasts play an active role in regulating connective tissue tension. In response to static stretching of the tissue, fibroblasts expand within minutes by actively remodeling their cytoskeleton. This dynamic change in fibroblast shape contributes to the drop in tissue tension that occurs during viscoelastic relaxation. We propose that this response of fibroblasts plays a role in regulating extracellular fluid flow into the tissue, and protects against swelling when the matrix is stretched. This article reviews the evidence supporting possible mechanisms underlying this response including autocrine purinergic signaling. We also discuss fibroblast regulation of connective tissue tension with respect to lymphatic flow, immune function, and cancer.

Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Acupuncture, connective tissue, and peripheral sensory modulation.

Langevin

Abstract

Although considerable controversy surrounds the legitimacy of acupuncture as a treatment, a growing literature on the physiological effects of acupuncture needling in animals and humans is providing new insights into basic cellular mechanisms including connective tissue mechanotransduction and purinergic signaling. This review summarizes these findings and proposes a model combining connective tissue plasticity and peripheral sensory modulation in response to the sustained stretching of tissue that results from acupuncture needle manipulation.

 

Acupuncture, connective tissue, and peripheral sensory modulation. 

Abstract


Although considerable controversy surrounds the legitimacy of acupuncture as a treatment, a growing literature on the physiological effects of acupuncture needling in animals and humans is providing new insights into basic cellular mechanisms including connective tissue mechanotransduction and purinergic signaling. This review summarizes these findings and proposes a model combining connective tissue plasticity and peripheral sensory modulation in response to the sustained stretching of tissue that results from acupuncture needle manipulation.