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T
raditional Chinese Medicine
 

Scalp Acupuncture

© George T. Lewith MA, MRCGP, MRCP
 (Excerpted from Modern Chinese Acupuncture)

Optic area
This area originates 1cm lateral to the midpoint of the occipital protruberance and runs for 4cms parallel to the anterior-posterior line in an anterior direction.
Cortical blindness.

Balance area
This area originates 3cm lateral to the midpoint of the occipital protruberance and runs for 4cms parallel to the anterior-posterior line in an anterior direction.
Cerebellar disease

Gastric area
A line directly above the pupil starting from the hairline and running for 2cms in a posterior direction parallel to the anterior-posterior line.
Epigastric discomfort.

Thoracic area
Midway between the anterior-posterior midline and gastric area. It is a 4cms line with its midpoint on the hairline, running parallel to the gastric area.
Respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases.

Reproduction area
A 2cms line parallel to the gastric area originating at the hair line and running posteriorly. The thoracic area and reproduction area originate at points equidistant from the gastric area.
Uterine haemorrhage.

II. Needling Technique

Skin Sterility
It is important to sterilize the skin before inserting the needle. The Chinese use a solution of 2.5% iodine and 75% alcohol to do this. Hair is not usually a problem and it can be parted to expose the scalp, but if long-term scalp therapy is required then it may be easier to shave the scalp area.

Needle Insertion
The Chinese usually insert a 2-inch or 3-inch needle into the scalp area, running it down the subcutaneous layer. This requires a great deal of dexterity with an acupuncture needle and it is easier to use several short consecutively connecting needles over the scalp area.

Needle Stimulation
The needle should be rotated without any lifting and thrusting movement. In general the more a scalp area is stimulated the better is the result, the Chinese recommending that the needle be rotated manually at a frequency greater than 200 times per minute for about five minutes. This should be repeated two or three times during a twenty to thirty minutes period of treatment. Many Chinese use electrical stimulation over the scalp areas, the stimulator being used at high frequency (about 3000Hz), and maximum tolerable intensity, for about twenty minutes. When the scalp is stimulated the patient often feels a burning sensation in the scalp and a dull, numb or distended feeling in the relevant area.

Selection of Scalp Areas
In order to know which scalp areas should be stimulated a clear neurological diagnosis must be made. The contralateral area is usually stimulated, but better results seem to be obtained if the area is stimulated bilaterally.

III. The Indications for the Use of Scalp Acupuncture

Routine medical management should always be carried out first, and if scalp acupuncture is indicated then it should be used to aid recovery and deal with the chronic sequelae.

Cerebro-vascular Accidents
Scalp acupuncture is particularly useful in all types of strokes, whether the origin is cerebral thrombus or a cerebral haemorrhage. Do not start scalp needling for at least a week after the stroke; scalp acupuncture increases the blood flow to the damaged area of the brain and local cerebral bleeding may be increased if it is used too early. Scalp acupuncture can be started up to two years after the onset of a stroke, with beneficial results.

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About The Author
George Lewith attended Trinity College, Cambridge and Westminster Hospital Medical School. He has worked as a Senior House Officer and Registrar within the Westminster and University College Hospital Teaching Groups in London. After training as a GP, he practised medicine in Australia before returning to England. He continues to lecture at Southampton University’s Department of......more
 
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