Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Seven Star Needling
On page 448 of issue # 10, 2004 of the Zhe Jiang Zhong Yi Za Zhi (Zhejiang Journal of Chinese Medicine), Shi Yi-li and De Ru-hua of the Hebei Provincial Chinese Medical Hospital published an article titled, “The Treatment of 52 Cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Knocking Pricking of “Brain Acuity Three Lines.” A summary of this two-wing comparative study is presented below.
Altogether, there were 78 patients enrolled in this study, all of whom had CFS as defined by the 1994 U.S. CDC diagnostic criteria. Of the seven criteria for this diagnosis, each patient had to manifest at least four of them. These 78 patients were divided into a treatment group of 52 patients and a comparison group of 26. No further description of these patients was given by the Chinese authors in terms of sex, age, or disease duration. However, part of the definition of CFS is that symptoms must have lasted six months or more.
Treatment of the treatment group consisted of seven star needling three rows of points on the cranium. This was called “knocking and pricking” by the Chinese authors. Seven star needling is also called plum blossom needling and skin needling. The first row was along the governing vessel on the mid-line of the cranium from Hou Ding (GV 19) to Shang Xing (GV 23). The second two rows consisted of the right and left bladder channels from Wu Chu (Bl 5) to Luo Que (Bl 8, a.k.a. Nao Gai). These lines were knocked and pricked with weak to medium stimulation. Each row was “needled” for approximately 10-20 minutes. This was done once every other day.
The comparison group received fine needle acupuncture at the following points: Bai Hui (GV 20), Tai Yang (M-HN-9), Feng Chi (Gb 20), Qu Chi (LI 11), and Zu San Li (St36). Turning-twisting supplementing hand technique was used at all these points. After obtaining the qi, the needles were retained for 20 minutes. One treatment was performed per day, and eight treatments equaled one course of treatment. Two days rest were allowed between each two successive courses.
Both groups were treated for a period of 60 days before outcomes were analyzed.
Cure was defined as complete disappearance of symptoms with return to normal work and lifestyle. Marked effect was defined as basic disappearance of symptoms and return to normal work. Some effect was defined as marked improvement in symptoms. However, the patient was still not able to work. No effect meant that there was no obvious improvement in symptoms and still not able to return to one’s normal lifestyle and work. The following table shows the outcomes of these two groups based on these criteria.
|Group||No.||Cure||Marked effect||Some effect||No effect||Total effect.|
According to the two Chinese authors, CFS is categorized in Chinese medicine as vacuity taxation disorder. It is mostly due to loss of regulation in the function of the viscera and bowels resulting in insufficiency in the engenderment and transformation of qi and blood, yin and yang. According to Chinese medical theory:
The head is the meeting of all yang [and] the mansion of clear yang. The efflorescence of the essence and blood of the five viscera and the clear yang qi of the six bowels all ascend and pour into the head.
The brain acuity three rows or lines are all located on the vertex of the head on the governing vessel and foot tai yang bladder channels. The governing vessel commands all the yang channels. Thus it is called the sea of yang vessels. The bladder channel and it connect with each other, and their channel qi mutually communicates of flows freely between the two. The back transport points situated on the bladder channel are where the essence qi of the five viscera is transported to and pours into. Therefore, the bladder channel can also be called the bridge between the brain and the channels and network vessels of the viscera and bowels. Thus knocking and pricking these three rows or lines is able to raise and vitalize the yang qi, to promote yang’s engenderment and yin’s growth, to regulate and supplement the five viscera, to supplement and boost both former and latter heavens, and to wash away and flush depression and stagnation.
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