abstracted & translated by
Honora Lee Wolfe, Lic. Ac., FNAAOM (USA)
Keywords: Chinese medicine, acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, post-herpetic neuralgia
On page 48 of issue #1, 2005 of the Zhen Jiu Lin Chuang Za Zhi (Clinical Journal of Acupuncture & moxibustion), Han Jie published an article titled, "Simultaneous Needling Plus Electro-acupuncture Treatment of 40 Cases of Geriatric Post-herpetic Neuralgia." Because this treatment urned out to be so effective, a summary of this study is presented below.
Nineteen of the 40 patients in this study were male; the rest were female. These patients ranged in age from 56 to 80 years. Three patients suffered from post-herpetic neuralgia of the cheek region, 15 from latero-costal post-herpetic neuralgia, 12 from low back post-herpetic neuralgia, four from lower abdominal post-herpetic neuralgia, and six from post-herpetic neuralgia of the four extremities. The shortest course of disease was 20 days and the longest was two months.
Simultaneous needling (qi ci) is one of the 12 class ic needling methods. It consists of needling in the center of a pain or lesion and then also needling to right an left of this central point. In this protocol, 2-5 points were needled in the middle of the affected area plus points on either sides. One to one and half inch needles were inserted into these chosen points. After obtaining the qi, these needles were stimulated by electro-acupuncture using dense, continuous waves with the highest degree of stimulation the patient could bear. During this procedure, it was appropriate that the muscles and flesh twitched due to this electro-stimulation. Each treatment lasted 20-30 minutes and was done once per day. Ten treatments equaled one course.
Cure was defined as complete disappearance of any pain and numbness. Some effect was defined as decrease in the amount of pain. No effect was defined as no change in the pain. Based on these criteria, 32 out of 40 patients (80%) were judged cured and eight (20%) got some effect. Therefore, the total effectiveness rate was 100%.
According to Dr. Han, herpes is categorized in Chinese medicine as winding the low back fire cinnabar, snake cinnabar, and fire belt blisters. It is mostly caused by internal damage by psycho-emotional factors with liver qi depression and binding. If this endures for some time, it transforms fire which may give rise to fire toxins in the liver channel. It is also possible for external soaking of the skin to give rise to damp heat toxin exuberance. In any case, there is obstruction of the channels and network vessels. The qi and blood do not flow easily or smoothly, and, therefore, there is intense aching and pain. Simultaneous needling is described in the Ling Shu (Spiritual Axis) chapter titled "Constructive Needling." This technique is used for the treatment of relatively deep pain and impediment conditions, such as post-herpetic neuralgia. When this technique is used with the addition of electro-acupuncture, it is able to promote the movement of the qi and blood, stasis and stagnation are dispersed, the flow of the network vessels and vessels is freed, and aching and pain are relived. Dr. Han believes that simultaneously needling with electro-acupuncture is able to achieve very good effects in the treatment of geriatric post-herpetic neuralgia.
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