Bleeding & Cupping for Acne
On page 36 of issue #8, 2005 of the Zhen Jiu Lin Chuang Za Zhi (Clinical Journal of Acupuncture & Moxibustion), Xiong Tao and Duan Xiu-fang published an article titled, “Observations on the Therapeutic Effects of Treating Acne with Piercing the Network Vessels & Cupping.” A summary of this article is presented below.
The 30 patients enrolled in this clinical trial were all seen as out-patients in the First People’s Hospital in Jingmen in Hubei. There were 17 males and 13 females aged 15-45 years. Ten of these cases had suffered from acne for less than one year, 12 had suffered from acne for 1-3 years, and eight had suffered for 3-10 years. Eighteen patients had papular lesions, eight had pustular lesions, and four had cystic lesions.
After skin disinfection, the tips of both ears were pierced with a three-edged needle and then preshed with the hand in order to exit 5-8 drops of blood from each ear. Similarly, Da Zhui (GV 14) was bled, allowing 3-4 drops of blood to exit. Then fire-cupping was done over Da Zhui, leaving the cup in place for 5-10 minutes and withdrawing 3-5ml of blood. This treatment was done once every 3-5 days, and three weeks of this regime equaled one course. During treatment, patients were forbidden to eat acrid, peppery foods and were required to wash their face two times per day in warm water.
Cure was defined as complete elimination of acne lesions and any scars or scabs within three weeks of treatment. Improvement was defined as a basic disappearance of acne lesions. However, 2-3 papules or pustules still remained after three weeks of treatment. No effect meant that, although the lesions had decreased, there was no abatement of new lesion formation after three weeks of treatment. Based on these criteria, 18 cases or 60% were judged cured, 10 cases of 33.3% improved, and only two cases (6.7%) got no effect. Therefore, the total effectiveness rate was published as 93.3%.
According to the Chinese authors, bleeding the tips of the ears clears heat and resolves toxins, frees the flow of the channels and quickens the blood. Bleeding Da Zhui followed by cupping disperses welling abscesses and scatters binding or nodulation, quickens the blood and stops pain, dispels stasis and eliminates evils. As the authors point out, Da Zhui is a transport point on the governing vessel as well as a meeting point of the governing vessel and the hand and foot three yang channels.
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