abstracted & translated by
Honora Lee Wolfe, L.Ac., FNAAOM (USA)
Keywords: Chinese medicine, ear acupuncture, cupping, bleeding, dermatology, acne
On page 45 of issue #4, 2005 of Hei Long Jiang Zhong Yi Yao (Heilongjiang Chinese Medicine & Medicinals), Li Xiao-hui and Ji Li-jing published an article titled, “The Treatment of 57 Cases of Acne with Ear Acupuncture Combined with Point-piercing & Cupping to Promote Bleeding.” A summary of this article is presented below.
All 57 patients enrolled in this clinical trial were seen as out-patients at the hospital attached to the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine where they worked. Twenty-two of these patients were male and 35 were female. Their ages ranged from 14-37 years old. Their course of disease ranged from two months to eight years.
Ear acupuncture points consisted of:
Tip of Ear
Each time, 3-4 of these points were chosen and the tip of the ear was bled. After insertion, the needles were retained for 20-30 minutes each time, and one treatment was done per day, with five times equaling one course. In addition, the following points were needled with a plum blossom needle:
Da Zhui (GV 14)
Fei Shu (Bl 13)
Ge Shu (Bl 17)
Pi Shu (Bl 20)
Shen Shu (Bl 23)
Tapping at these points was heavy enough to create erythema and seepage of blood. Then fire cupping was done over these points to increase the bleeding. The cups were left on for 10-20 minutes and 2-5ml of blood was withdrawn. This treatment was done once every other day, with 10 times equaling one course. Thirty treatments typically produced a good effect.
Cure was defined as complete receding of the skin lesions and disappearance of any associated subjective symptoms. Improvement was defined as a marked reduction subjective symptoms and receding of skin lesions by 30% or more. No effect was defined as no change in subjective symptoms and a decrease in skin lesions of less than 30%. Based on these criteria, 23 cases were cured, seven cases improved, and two cases got no effect, for a total effectiveness rate of 93.75%.
It appears that the ear points were chosen based on a combination of Western physiology and Chinese five phase correspondences, i.e., lungs-large intestine-skin. The body points and the tip of the ear were all bled in order to clear depressive heat from the lungs, blood aspect, and spleen-stomach. The Chinese authors explain that they bled Shen Shu because this point regulates the sex hormones and draining it helps to decrease the amount of testosterone secreted.
Copyright © Blue Poppy Press, 2006. All rights reserved.
For more information on the Chinese medical treatment of acne, see Liang Jian-hui’s A Handbook of Traditional Chinese Dermatology available from Blue Poppy Press.