Psoriasis & Acupuncture
Honora Lee Wolfe, Lic. Ac., FNAAOM (USA)
There were 16 males and 26 females 18-47 years old included in this study. The shortest duration of psoriasis was three months and the longest was 15 years. No other information about these patients was given.
If the lesions were on the upper extremities or head region, the main points were Zhi Gou (TB 6), Qu Chi (LI 11), and He Gu (LI 4), while the auxiliary points were Xue Hai (Sp 10) and San Yin Jiao (Sp 6). If the lesions were mainly on the head, the auxiliary points were Ying Xiang (LI 20) and Su Liao (GV 25).
If the lesions were on the lower extremities, the main points were Xue Hai (Sp 10), San Yin Jiao (Sp 6), and Zu San Li (St 36), and the auxiliary points were Zhi Gou (TB 6) and Qu Chi (LI 11).
If the lesions affected the entire body, the main points were Da Zhui (GV 14), Qu Chi (LI 11), He Gu (LI 4), Xue Hai (Sp 10), and San Yin Jiao (Sp 6).
After insertion of the needles and obtaining of the qi, the needles were retained for a half hour. During this time, each needle was stimulated 1-2 times. This was done once per day, with 20 days equaling one course of treatment.
The main points consisted of: Da Zhui (GV 14), Tao Dao (GV 13), Shen Zhu (GV 12), and Ling Tai (GV 10). Other auxiliary points were chosen depending on the patient’s condition. These points were bled with a three-edged needle. Then fire cupping was done over each. These cups were retained for 30 minutes. It is assumed that this cupping was done at the same frequency as the needling. However, this was not stated.
During the course of treatment, patients were also forbidden to eat oily, fried foods, acrid, peppery foods, or seafood. Instead, they were encouraged to eat lots of fruits and fresh vegetables and to drink lots of water.
Cure was defined as complete disappearance of all lesions. Marked effect was defined as sloughing of the damaged skin and marked decrease in itching of the affected areas. No effect meant that there was no improvement. The following table shows these outcomes.
|Cured||Marked effect||No effect||Effect. rate|
Psoriasis & Acupuncture
abstracted & translated by
Honora Lee Wolfe, Lic. Ac., Dipl. Ac., FNAAOM (USA)
Keywords: Chinese medicine, acupuncture, dermatology, psoriasis
In standard professional Chinese medicine, the main treatment modality is the use of internally administered and externally applied Chinese herbal medicinals. Acupuncture is much less frequently used in Chinese medical dermatology. Nevertheless, in issue #5, 2003 of the An Hui Zhong Yi Lin Chuang Za Zhi (Anhui Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine), Zhou Zhi-yong and Yang Cheng-bo published an article titled, “The Acupuncture Treatment of 12 Cases of Psoriasis.” This article appeared on page 385 of that journal. A summary of its main points is presented below.
All 12 patients were seen as out-patients at the Chinese authors’ hospital in Huainan, Anhui. Among them, there were nine males and three females aged 21-63 years who had suffered from psoriasis from 25 days to 20 years.
The points chosen in the protocol consisted of: Feng Chi (GB 20), Feng Men (Bl 12), San Yin Jiao (sp 6), Yin Ling Quan (Sp 9), Qu Chi (LI 11), Xue Hai (Sp 10), Tian Jing (TB 10), and Shao Hai (HT 3). After insertion, these points were stimulated with twisting and turning supplementation and draining technique as indicated. If there was itching, a seven star needle was used in the affected area for 10 minutes. Although the frequency of treatment was not stated, nor was the definition of a single course of treatment, my assumption is that treatment was given at least five times per week and at least 10 such treatments constituted a course. In fact, given the stubborn nature of psoriasis, a single course of treatment may have been as much as a month long.
Treatment outcomes were assessed after four course of treatment with the above protocol. Cure was defined as complete disappearance of the symptoms with no recurrence within three years. Improvement was defined as disappearance of the large part of the symptoms and change in color of the remaining portion. No effect was defined as no improvement in the signs and symptoms. Based on these criteria, eight out of 12 cases were judged cured, three improved, and one got no effect, for a total effectiveness rate of 91.7%.
According to the Chinese authors, psoriasis corresponds to the traditional Chinese medical disease category of ox skin tinea and is due to heat and dryness in the blood aspect giving rise to wind toxins which flow into the skin. These evils may also be mixed with dampness. Therefore, they believe that the treatment principles should be to dispel wind and disinhibit dampness, clear the blood and moisten dryness. Hence Feng Chi and Feng Men with draining technique were chosen to dispel wind. Draining San Yin Jiao and Yin Ling Quan was in order to disinhibit water and seep dampness. Draining Xue Hai was in order to clear heat from the blood aspect. Tian Jing is the uniting and earth point of the triple burner fire channel. Since repletions should be drained, draining it clears heat. It was then combined with Shao Hai, the uniting point of the heart channel. Supplementing it boosts water in order to control heart fire. Its use was also based on the statement, “All painful, itching sores pertain to the heart.” Seven star needling the affected area in case of itching courses wind toxin evils from the interstices of the skin. Therefore, this protocol treas both the root and the tips or branches of this disease simultaneously and achieves very satisfactory clinical outcomes.
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