Neural Acupuncture – Integrating Neuroanatomy with Traditional Asian Medicine

Neural Acupuncture – Integrating Neuroanatomy with Traditional Asian Medicine

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Neural Acupuncture — Neuroanatomy and Traditional Asian Medicine…By Jason Hao, DOM, MBA – Neural Acupuncture Institute and David Riley, MDAcademy of Integrative Health & Medicine reviewing the topic of Neural Acupuncture. One review article and two case reports are cited below…

Jason Hao is the founder of the Neural Acupuncture Institute and an author on the cited articles. David Riley is an Associate Editor with The Permanente Journal and was the editor in chief of Global Advances in Health and Medicine when these articles were published.

Neural acupuncture—also know as Chinese scalp acupuncture—is a contemporary acupuncture technique integrating traditional Chinese needling methods with Western neuroanatomy. It has been used as a technique for treating acute and chronic central nervous system disorders including Bell’s palsy, cerebral palsy, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease and stroke. It is one of the most significant recent developments in traditional Chinese Medicine.

Two of the primary principles of neural acupuncture are: (1) The location of areas used in neural acupuncture are based on the reflex somato-topic system in Western medicine rather than the theory of channels in Chinese medicine, and (2) Neural acupuncture consists of needling areas rather than points on the skull that are zones through which the functions of the central nervous system are related to the surface of the scalp. From a Western perspective, these zones correspond to the cortical areas of the cerebrum and cerebellum responsible for central nervous system functions such as motor activity, sensory input, vision, speech, hearing and balance.

In a case report cited below, a 6-year-old patient with cerebral palsy was treated with Chinese scalp acupuncture. The Speech I, Speech II, Motor, Foot motor and sensory, and Balance areas were stimulated once a week, then every other week for 15 sessions. His dysarthria, ataxia and weakness of legs, arms and hands showed significant improvement from each scalp acupuncture treatment, and after 15 sessions, the patient had recovered completely. A Cochrane review in 2007 on the use of acupuncture for Bell’s palsy identified 49 potentially relevant articles including six controlled clinical trials involving 537 participants. Unfortunately the quality of the trials was inadequate to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of acupuncture for Bell’s palsy.

Neural acupuncture appears to be useful in the treatment of central nervous system disorders, improving not only symptoms associated with diseases ranging from cerebral palsy to stroke but also quality of life. It does require specialized training since it is a therapy that integrates knowledge of western neuroanatomy with acupuncture.



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