Acupuncture Beats Injected Morphine for Pain: Groundbreaking Study

An amazing new study has found that acupuncture, the ancient practice of using needles to stimulate bodily self healing, is more effective than intravenous morphine for pain.

A truly groundbreaking study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicinetitled, “Acupuncture vs intravenous morphine in the management of acute pain in the ED,” reveals that acupuncture — one of the oldest techniques to treat pain — is more effective, faster in relieving pain, and with less adverse effects, than intravenous morphine.

The study was conducted over the course of a 1-year period at the Fattouma Bourguiba University Hospital in Tunisia, a tertiary care facility with over 100,000 Emergency Department (ED) visits per year.

300 ED patients with acute pain were included in the study: 150 in the morphine group (administered up to 15 mg a day) and 150 in the acupuncture group. The two groups were comparable in terms of age, sex, and co-morbidities, with the only significant difference being that there were more abdominal pain patients in the morphine group and more low back pain cases in the acupuncture group.

The striking results were reported as follows:

“Success rate was significantly different between the 2 groups (92% in the acupuncture group vs 78% in the morphine group P b .01). Resolution time was 16 ± 8 minutes in the acupuncture group vs 28 ± 14 minutes in the morphine group. The difference was statistically significant (P b .01). The mean absolute difference in pain score between the 2 groups was 7.7. This difference is not clinically significant because the minimal clinically significant absolute difference reported by Todd et al is 13. In morphine group, the mean total dose of morphine administered was 0.17 ± 0.08 mg/Kg (Table 2).

The pain scale change from baseline at each time point in the 2 groups is shown in Figure. From the 5-minute time point, the acupuncture group reported significantly larger pain decrease compared with the morphine group. This difference persisted during the entire study period. Change of blood pressure, HR, RR, and oxygen saturation was not significant in both groups.

Overall, 89 patients (29.3%) experienced minor adverse effects: 85(56.6%) in morphine group and 4 (2.6%) in acupuncture group; the difference was significant between the 2 groups (Table 3). The most frequent adverse effect was dizziness in the morphine group (42%) and needle breakage in the acupuncture group (2%). No major adverse effect was recorded during the study protocol. (See Table 4.)”

In short, the acupuncture group saw a great pain-relieving effect, which occurred faster, with significantly less side effects.

A graph from the study showing the pain-decreasing differences between morphine and acupuncture


Since 1996, the World Health Organization has recognized acupuncture as a safe and effective therapy for the treatment of a wide range of conditions, including pain and discomfort.1 Despite this, the use of acupuncture within the conventional standard of care is still exceedingly rare. A deep skepticism exists for therapeutic modalities that do yet have a clearly characterized mechanism of action, as defined through conventional biomedical understanding and terminology. Often, in lieu of this, its therapeutic effects are written off as merely “placebo.”

Placebo, however, is not as diminutive term as it may first seem.  The placebo effectactually reflects the deep power and regenerative capability of the body-mind to heal itself. And since its power translates directly into real, measurable improvements in terms of clinical outcomes, it does not matter if we fully understand “how” it works. Also, consider that “evidence-based” (EB) medicine not only depends entirely on clinical outcomes as final proof of an intervention’s efficacy, but also, the entire EB medicine model depends on “controlling” for the placebo effect, as it is already tacitly recognized as having immense power in influencing the outcomes in most interventions. And so, whether or not a fully known or plausible “mechanism of action” has been identified is secondary in importance to whether it works or not in clinical practice.

Clearly the new study reveals that acupuncture has a powerful role to play in pain management. With addiction to pain relieving drugs affecting millions around the world, acupuncture is perfectly poised to provide patients a time-tested, drug-free alternative. As you can see from the study’s graph, the adverse effects comparison is staggeringly in favor of acupuncture as the safer modality.

Finally, here are the study’s powerful conclusions:

“Our study demonstrated that in patients with acute pain syndromes presenting to the Emergency Department (ED), acupuncture is at least as efficacious and has a better safety profile than IV morphine. The results of this study suggest that acupuncture has a potential role in controlling acute pain conditions presenting to EDs and appears to be safe and effective. Future studies should be performed in international populations.”


1. World Health Organization. Acupuncture: review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials; 2002.

Acupuncture and Herbs Stop Shingles Pain, Outperforms Drugs

Needles being inserted perpendicular to the paraspinal muscles bilaterally.

Acupuncture and herbs prove effective for the treatment of shingles. Researchers from three independent studies conclude that acupuncture and herbal medicine significantly relieve rashes and pain associated with the herpes zoster virus (shingles). Importantly, acupuncture and herbal medicine outperformed antiviral and anti-inflammatory medications, indicating that usual care protocols are suboptimal without inclusion of acupuncture and herbal medicine.

The shingles viral infection is characterized by painful blisters, usually located in a single strip on either side of the trunk, neck, or face. Even once the blisters have subsided, patients can be left with severe neuralgia (nerve pain), which may last for several weeks or months. According to Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) principles, this condition usually falls into the category of either excess liver fire, liver and gallbladder damp heat, or spleen deficiency with accumulated pathogenic dampness. Rashes associated with shingles are sometimes referred to as “snake string sores” in TCM, reflecting the nature of their physical presentation.

People’s Hospital

The first study we will look at today was conducted by researchers at the People’s Hospital of Shenyang Economic and Technological Development Zone. [i] A total of 88 patients with a clinical diagnosis of a herpes zoster infection were recruited and randomly assigned to an acupuncture and herbal medicine observation group or a drug control group (including anti-inflammatory and antiviral medications).

The acupuncture and herbal medicine group produced significantly greater patient outcomes. This includes a higher cure rate, a higher overall effective rate, and a lower failure rate. The results indicate that standard procedures to alleviate shingles in hospital and outpatient settings absent acupuncture and herbs are definitively not the most effective means to provide relief to patients.

The observation group comprised 20 male and 24 female participants with a mean age of 43.6 years. Their mean duration of disease was 3.4 days. The control group comprised 18 male and 26 female participants, with a mean age of 42.8 years. The mean duration of disease in this group was 3.6 days. There were no statistically significant differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups at the outset of the investigation.

Treatment Procedures

The control group was treated with conventional drug therapy including:

• Acyclovir (200mg, three times a day)

• Vitamin B1 (10mg, three times a day)

• Ibuprofen slow release capsules (300mg daily)

• Acyclovir topical ointment

The observation group was treated with a modified version of the herbal formula Long Dan Xie Gan Tang containing the following herbs:

• Sheng Di 30g

• Che Qian Zi 30g

• Ban Lan Gen 30g

• Huang Qin 15g

• Chi Shao 15g

• Zhi Zi 15g

• Da Qing Ye 15g

• Long Dan Cao 12g

• Ze Xie 12g

• Chai Hu 10g

• Dang Gui 10g


• For patients suffering from concurrent constipation, Da Huang (10g) was added to the formula.

• For patients with symptoms of exuberant heat, Sheng Shi Gao (30g), Zhi Mu (15g), and Mu Dan Pi (15g) were added.

• For patients with pus-filled blisters, Pu Gong Ying (30g) was added.

• For patients with severe pain, Zhi Ru Xiang (10g) and Zhi Mo Yao (10g) were added.

The herbs were decocted in water and one dose was taken daily, divided into two portions for morning and evening consumption. The patients in the observation group were also treated with acupuncture at the following acupoints:

• Huatuojiaji (MBW35)

• Zhigou (TB6)

• Yanglingquan (GB34)

• Yinlingquan (SP9)

Acupuncture was also administered locally in the area of herpetic rashes. Needles were inserted into the spaces between blisters, approximately 1.5 cun apart. The needles were manipulated slightly then withdrawn immediately, and the puncture was not sealed with cotton. The incidental drawing of a small drop of blood was considered a beneficial effect. The affected area was also warmed with a moxa cigar. Treatment was administered once daily. Both groups underwent treatment for a total of ten days, with an initial assessment of rashes after five days.

Clinical Outcomes

Patients with a complete resolution of rashes and clinical symptoms (including pain) were classified as cured. In patients with at least a 30% improvement in rashes and pain reduction, the treatment was classified as effective. In patients showing less than 30% improvement in rashes and no change or worsening of pain, the treatment was classified as ineffective.

In the drug control group, 15 patients were cured, 21 cases were classified as effective, and 8 cases were classified as ineffective, yielding a total effective rate of 81.8%. In the acupuncture and herbal medicine observation group, 25 patients were cured, 18 cases were classified as effective, and one case was classified as ineffective, yielding a total effective rate of 97.7%.

A combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine has been used for the treatment of shingles for over 1,000 years. This modern study confirms the efficaciousness of a common TCM protocol for the treatment of herpes zoster. A rethinking of usual care standards seems appropriate based on the findings. At the Healthcare Medicine Institute (HealthCMi), we examine traditional acupuncture continuing education standards and repeatedly find that an integrative medicine model for the treatment of shingles is superior to drug monotherapy. Let’s take a look at the second study in our review of shingles treatments.

Changjizhou and Jimusa’erxian TCM Hospital

The second study conducted by researchers at the Changjizhou and Jimusa’erxian TCM Hospital (department of acupuncture and moxibustion) determined that acupuncture and herbal medicine are effective for the treatment of shingles. [ii] For this study, a total of 40 patients were recruited and randomly assigned to either an observation or control group.

The observation group was comprised of 12 male and 8 female participants, ages 18–63 years (mean age 35.5 years). Their duration of disease was 1–10 days (mean duration 5.5 days) at the outset. The control group was comprised of 13 male and 7 female participants, ages 18–65 years (mean age 36.5 years). Their duration of disease was 1–8 days (mean duration 4.5 days). There were no statistically significant differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups at the outset of the investigation.

Treatment Procedures

Both groups were treated with herbal decoctions according to their TCM differential diagnoses. Patients diagnosed with excessive heat in the liver channel were prescribed a version of Qing Re Zhi Tong Tang containing the following herbs:

• Lian Qiao 15g

• Jin Yin Hua 15g

• Huang Qin 10g

• Zhi Zi 10g

• Huang Lian 10g

• Long Dan Cao 5g

• Gan Cao 5g

• Da Qing Ye 25g

• Ling Ci Shi 25g

Patients diagnosed with spleen deficiency with accumulation of pathogenic dampness were prescribed a version of Chu Shi Wei Ling Tang containing the following ingredients:

• Cang Zhu 10g

• Chen Pi 10g

• Shao Bai Zhu 10g

• Che Qian Zi 15g

• Ze Xie 15g

• Fu Ling 15g

• Jin Yin Hua 15g

• Long Dan Cao 5g

• Ling Ci Shi 25g

Both decoctions were taken as a daily dose for a total of 21 days. Patients in the observation group also received acupuncture in the area affected by the herpetic rash. Following standard disinfection, 3–6 needles were inserted surrounding the rash at a distance of approximately 0.5–1cm. The needles were inserted transversely to a depth of 20–50mm, angled towards the midpoint of the rash. The needles were manipulated using a balanced reinforcing-reducing method and were retained for 30 minutes. Treatment was administered daily for 14 days.

Clinical Outcomes

For patients whose rash and clinical symptoms fully resolved, treatment was classified as markedly effective. For those whose rash improved by more than 70% and experienced some reduction in pain, treatment was classified as effective. For those whose rash improved by less than 30% and experienced no reduction in pain, treatment was classified as ineffective.

In the control group, there were 10 markedly effective, 6 effective, and 4 ineffective cases, yielding a total effective rate of 80%. In the observation group, there were 15 markedly effective, 4 effective, and one ineffective cases, yielding a total effective rate of 95%.

The patients also rated their pain using a visual analog scale (VAS). VAS scores of 7–10 indicated severe, unbearable pain. Scores of 4–6 indicated severe but tolerable pain, 1–3 indicated mild pain, and scores of 0 indicated a complete absence of pain. At the beginning of the study, mean VAS scores in the control group and observation group were 7.36 and 7.25 respectively. By the end of the study, scores decreased significantly to 4.20 and 2.04 respectively, with significantly greater improvements in the observation group. The results indicate that a combination of acupuncture and herbs is more effective than using only herbal medicine.

Yungang Community Sanitation Service Center

The final study we will examine was conducted by researchers at the Chinese medicine and acupuncture department of the Yungang Community Sanitation Service Center in Beijing. [iii] A total of 36 herpes zoster patients were recruited for the study and were treated with acupuncture, herbs, and cupping therapy. The study group was comprised of 8 male and 28 female patients, ages 25–78 years. Of these participants, 8 had a disease duration of less than 2 days, 11 had a disease duration of 2–14 days, and the remaining 17 participants had a disease duration of over 14 days at the outset of the study.

Treatment Procedure

All patients were treated with a version of Long Dan Xie Tang and Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin. The ingredients were as follows:

• Sheng Di 20g

• Hei Shan Zhi 15g

• Long Dan Cao 10g

• Huang Bai 10g

• Chai Hu 10g

• Huang Qin 10g

• Che Qian Zi 10g

• Ze Xie 10g

• Mu Tong 10g

• Sheng Gan Cao 10g

• Jin Yin Hua 10g

• Lian Qiao 10g

• Ye Ju Hua 10g

• Zi Hua Di Ding 10g

• Pu Gong Ying 10g


• For patients suffering from concurrent constipation, Da Huang (10g) and Lai Fu Zi (10g) were added to the formula.

• For patients with symptoms of excessive heat, Huang Lian (10g) was added.

• For patients with severe pain, Chuan Lian Zi (10g) and Yuan Hu (10g) were added.

The herbs were decocted in water on a daily basis and were subsequently divided into three portions to be taken morning, noon, and evening. Acupuncture was administered in the area of the herpetic rashes. Needles were inserted between blisters and were stimulated using a reducing method to elicit a distending pain in the region. Needles were retained for 30 minutes.


• For patients whose symptoms originated in the area of the limbs, Quchi (LI11), Taichong (LV3), and Chezi (LU5) were added.

• For those whose symptoms originated on the back of the torso, Huatuojiaji (MBW35) and Hegu (LI4) were added.

• For those with a TCM diagnosis of liver fire blazing, Taichong (LV3), Chize (LU5), and Zhigou (TB6) were added.

• For those with a TCM diagnosis of damp-heat in the Stomach and Spleen, Xuehai (SP10) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) were added.

• For those with a TCM diagnosis of qi stagnation and blood stasis, Geshu (BL17) was added.

Needles at Huatuojiaji points were inserted perpendicularly to a depth of 0.7–0.8mm. The needles were manipulated using a balanced reinforcing-reducing method, and after the arrival of deqi, were retained for 20 minutes. Needles at the remaining acupoints were inserted and manipulated using a lifting, thrusting, and rotating reducing technique. These needles were also retained for 20 minutes. Treatment was administered daily for a total of ten days.

Cupping therapy was administered on every third day of the treatment period. A three-edged needle was used to puncture the skin surrounding the herpetic blisters. For those with a relatively small area affected by the rash, a single puncture was made. For those with a larger rash, the punctures were made approximately 3–5cm apart. A cup was then placed over the puncture(s) and were retained for 10 minutes.

Clinical Outcomes

Patients with a complete resolution of both rashes and associated pain were classified as recovered. For patients whose symptoms resolved almost completely, the treatment was classified as markedly effective. For patients whose symptoms partially resolved, the treatment was classified as effective. For patients whose symptoms did not improve or worsened, the treatment was classified as ineffective.

For patients whose symptoms had been present for less than two days, all 8 were fully recovered, yielding a 100% effective rate. Among those whose symptoms had been present for 2–14 days, 5 were classified as recovered and 2 were classified as markedly effective, yielding a total effective rate of 63.6%. For those whose symptoms had been present for over 14 days, one was classified as recovered and one was classified as effective, yielding a total effective rate of 11.8%.


The results of three independent studies indicate that acupuncture combined with herbal medicine is a highly effective treatment combination for rashes and pain associated with the herpes zoster virus. Additionally, treatment is significantly more effective the earlier it is administered. For more information, contact us at Inner Chi Hawai’i to learn about treatment options tailored uniquely to you.


[i] Cao Bo (2018) “Clinical Study of Longdan Xiegan decoction Combined with Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Herpes Zoster” Guide of China Medicine Vol.16(25) pp. 174-175.

[ii] Zhang Qin, Ding Yujie (2018) “Study on the Effect of Dialectical Treatment with Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture on Clinical Symptoms of Herpes Zoster Neuralgia” Cardiovascular Disease Journal of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine Vol.6(25) pp. 134.

[iii] Zhao Yun (2018) “Observation on the Effect of Combined Chinese Medicine and Cupping Method on 36 Patients with Herpes Zoster” Traditional Chinese Medicine Vol.16(16) pp.172-174.

Latest science and research reveals more about energy pathways, acupuncture’s effectiveness

Artwork by Samuel Farrand at

By James Madison, L.Ac for the Gazette.

In acupuncture theory, Qi (vital energy – a communication system) circulates through the body in meridians. When the flow of Qi becomes unbalanced or blocked, pain and disease result. Acupuncture points are specific areas where the Qi can be accessed and manipulated to restore balance.

We know acupuncture increases the body’s release of natural pain killers – endorphins and serotonin – in pain pathways. Modern research shows acupuncture affects most of the body’s systems: the nervous system, muscle tone, hormone outputs, circulation, antibody production, allergic responses, as well as respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive systems. However, everyone asks how it works, especially as the meridians cannot be seen. Let’s look at the latest science and research.

Numerous theories show we have structured water clusters inside our bodies. Structured water clusters are small particles which line up (as nanotubes) so that they become superconductors. This structured water not only moistens the body and conducts electricity, it is a communication system in the body which communicates instantaneously.

“Super-Conducting Liquid Crystalline Water Aligned with Collagen Fibers in the Fascia as Acupuncture Meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine” by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho explains the theory as demonstrated in the title. She used supporting evidence from biochemistry, cell biology, biophysics and neurophysiology to reach her conclusions. Another scientist, Dr. Shui-Yin Lo, a theoretical physicist, proposes through biophysics that stable clustered water forms the meridian system. Both arrived at the same conclusion through different pathways of investigation.

Muscles generate electricity. Electricity is transferred to the fascia. The fascia transfers information, at the speed of light, to your organs or other tissues. The fascia acts as a pump when you move, transferring fluids throughout your body. Fascia is present throughout your body and can transfer pain to different areas readily. Moving your foot moves the fascia, all the way up to your neck! Interestingly, the fascia is not only affected by inflammation, it responds to emotional stress as well, which makes it tighter. Acupuncture meridians tend to be located along connective tissue planes between muscles, or between a muscle and bone or tendon.

The acupuncture system and the Direct Current electrical field detected by western scientists both exist essentially in the continuum of liquid crystalline collagen fibers that make up most of the connective tissues. Water layers on the collagen fibers provide proton conduction pathways for rapid intercommunication throughout the body, enabling the organism to function as a coherent whole. This liquid crystalline continuum constitutes a “body consciousness” working in tandem with the “brain consciousness” of the nervous system.

It has been proven that consciousness resides in all the cells of our body; that the brain converts consciousness to other signals. Water aligned with collagen fibers, as the anatomical and functional basis of the acupuncture meridians, is highly probable. That said, the meridian system may be what integrates or coordinates all body systems and may be the basis of all forms of “subtle energy” medicine, the mechanism of action being mediated via quantum coherent liquid crystalline water

Acupuncture does more than reduce pain; it has a pronounced beneficial effect on health. Not only is the physical body affected, emotional and spiritual aspects are enhanced. Patients often notice an improved sense of well–being after treatment. Traditional Chinese medicine continues to be increasingly popular and has countless applications and benefits.

Acupuncture Low Back Disc Protrusion CT Scan Results

Practitioner inserting needle into the paraspinal muscle on lower back

Acupuncture is effective for patients with lumbar disc protrusions. CT scans confirm that acupuncture reduces disc protrusion size and increases healthy space in the spinal canal. Along with relief from nerve compression, investigators conclude that acupuncture improves range of motion and reduces pain for patients with lumbar disc protrusions.

Researchers from the Nanyang Municipal Central Hospital tested two acupoint prescriptions. The results of the investigation demonstrate that both acupuncture point prescriptions that were tested are effective for alleviating lumbar disc protrusions, but one is more effective than the other. We will take a look at both. CT (computed tomography) scans confirm the results, including improvements across multiple parameters (i.e., anteroposterior diameter of the thecal sac, sagittal diameter of the spinal canal, nerve root compression ratio). [1]

Patients were evaluated before and after the treatment course. Both subjective and objective instruments were used to measure patient outcomes. The objective data was gathered using CT scans (also known as CAT scans), which are computer-processed X-ray images. The scans demonstrate that acupuncture reduces disc protrusions and alleviates nerve compression. CT images confirmed improvements in the thecal sac anteroposterior diameter and sagittal diameter of the spinal canal as well as the nerve root compression ratio.

Subjective data was gathered with two instruments. First, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) was used to measure functional disability of the lower back. Second, the Japanese Orthopedic Association Lower Back Pain Evaluation Questionnaire (JOABPEQ) was used as an outcome measure for patients with lumbar disc protrusions. Patients demonstrated improvements with both the ODI and JOABPEQ.


The following are results of the ODI and JOABPEQ for two separate groups receiving two different acupuncture treatment point prescriptions. The ODI score for the standard acupuncture control group averaged 23.35 before treatment and 8.34 after treatment. The ODI score for the acupuncture Yao San Zhen (lumbar three needles) treatment group averaged 23.12 before treatment and 5.28 after treatment.

The JOABPEQ score for the standard acupuncture control group was 6.22 before treatment and averaged 17.14 after treatment. The JOABPEQ score for the acupuncture Yao San Zhen (lumbar three needles) treatment group averaged 6.35 before treatment and 21.53 after treatment. The researchers conclude that the Yao San Zhen treatment group outperformed the standard acupuncture control group regarding the improvements of ODI and JOABPEQ scores.

CT Scans

The thecal sac (dural sac) is a sheath around the spinal cord (above L2) and cauda equina. It is composed of dura mater, which is a thick connective tissue membrane. The anteroposterior diameter of the thecal sac for the standard acupuncture control group decreased to an average of 35.72 mm after treatment, from a pre-treatment value of 56.44 mm. The anteroposterior diameter for the Yao San Zhen acupuncture treatment group averaged 56.35 mm before treatment and 26.14 mm after treatment. These measurements indicate a decrease in the size of the disc protrusions.

The sagittal diameter of the spinal canal for the standard acupuncture control group averaged 6.32 mm before treatment and 11.16 mm after treatment. The sagittal diameter for the Yao San Zhen acupuncture treatment group was 6.51 mm before treatment and 14.24 mm after treatment. This parameter is negatively associated with lumbar pain and the improvements are reflected by higher numbers. The Yao San Zhen style of acupuncture outperformed the standard acupuncture protocol.

The nerve root compression ratio for the standard acupuncture control group averaged 0.64 before treatment and 0.48 after treatment. The nerve root compression ratio for the treatment group averaged 0.67 before treatment and 0.32 after treatment. Both groups achieved significant improvements in CT measured parameters. Overall, the improvements were greater for the Yao San Zhen acupuncture treatment group.

Correlation Between ODI and CT

Correlation between ODI and CT parameters (anteroposterior thecal sac diameter, sagittal spinal canal diameter, nerve root compression ratio) for two groups were analyzed. The results showed that the anteroposterior diameter and nerve root compression ratio were positively correlated with ODI scores, while the sagittal diameter of was negatively correlated with ODI scores. The researchers concluded that, “In patients with lumbar disc protrusion, the more severe the nerve root compression, the narrower the sagittal diameter on the CT, and the larger the anteroposterior diameter of the thecal sac, the more serious the clinical symptoms.”


A total of 78 patients participated in the study. They were diagnosed and treated for lumbar disc protrusions between January 2016 and January 2017. The following inclusion criteria were applied:

• Meeting the diagnostic criteria for both western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine

• Ages between 20–50 years

• Pain in the lower back and lower extremities

• Confirmed lumbar protrusions by CT or MRI

• Positive straight leg raise (SLR) test

The following exclusion criteria were applied:

• Comorbid tumors, lumbar vertebral spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, and spinal compression fractures

• Severe and comorbid blood diseases and coagulation disorders

• Pregnant or lactating

• Neurological or mental diseases

Participants were randomly divided into two groups: Yao San Zhen treatment and standard acupuncture control, with 39 participants in each group. Both groups were equivalent in all relevant demographics. The treatment group was comprised of 26 males and 13 females. The average age of the Yao San Zhen treatment group was 39.21 years. The course of treatment of the Yao San Zhen treatment group was 3.53 months. The control group was comprised of 24 males and 15 females. The average age of the treatment group was 38.37 years. The course of treatment of the treatment group was 3.32 months.

Acupuncture Sessions

Patients from both groups received the following acupuncture points:

• Huatuojiaji

• GB30 (Huantiao) affected side

• BL54 (Zhibian) affected side

• Ashi points

Secondary acupuncture points were added bilaterally based on diagnostic considerations:

• Lower back pain due to cold-dampness: BL39 (Weiyang), GV3 (Yaoyangguan)

• Lower back pain due to damp-heat: GB34 (Yanglingquan), SP6 (Sanyinjiao)

• Lower back pain due to blood stasis: SP10 (Xuehai), BL17 (Geshu)

• Lower back pain due to kidney deficiency: KD3 (Taixi), GV4 (Mingmen)

Acupuncture treatments commenced with patients in a prone position. After disinfection of the acupoint sites, a 40 or 75 mm disposable filiform needle was inserted into each acupoint with a high needle entry speed, reaching a depth of 1–1.5 cun (with the exception of 2–3 cun for Huantiao). After achieving a deqi sensation, the needles were manipulated with the Ping Bu Ping Xie (attenuating and tonifying) technique.

The acupuncture needles were connected to an electroacupuncture device. A low frequency continuous wave (5–10 Hz) was applied with an intensity level set to patient tolerance levels or until muscle contractions were observable. The needles were retained for 30 minutes after the initiation of electric current.

For the treatment group patients, a special acupoint prescription called Yao San Zhen (lumbar three needles) of Jin’s three needling technique was added. This technique was established by Dr. Jin Rui, Ph.D. (chief professor supervisor of Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine). The principle of the technique is to use three needle combinations to treat specific diseases. The Yao San Zhen prescription utilized the following acupoints:

• BL23 (Shenshu)

• BL25 (Dachangshu)

• BL40 (Weizhong)

Needles were inserted into each acupoint with a high needle entry speed, reaching a maximum depth of 1–1.5 cun. Upon the arrival of a deqi sensation, the needles were manipulated with the Ping Bu Ping Xie (attenuating and tonifying) technique. A 30 minute needle retention time was observed. For both groups, treatments were applied every two days, 10 sessions as one treatment course, for a total of 8 weeks.


The clinical results demonstrate that acupuncture produces positive patient outcomes for the treatment of lumbar disc protrusions. Patients that received acupuncture saw improvements in ODI and JOABPEQ scores and parameters measured by CT (i.e., anteroposterior diameter of the thecal sac, sagittal diameter of the spinal canal, nerve root compression ratio). The data indicates that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of lumbar disc protrusions.


[1] Fang F, Wei YX. Clinical observation on lumbar three needles in the treatment of lumbar disc protrusion and imaging changes [J]. World Chinese Medicine, 2018(5).

Do You Want Acupuncture But Hate Needles?

Wanting to try Acupuncture, yet can’t stand the thought of needles stabbing you? Acupuncture is a procedure that is relatively painless, we use the sterile tool which is made of solid metal and hair-like in thickness. It glides through the spaces between the skin and muscle fibers, so with a skilled practitioner the only thing you’ll feel is your energy being activated, ready to begin your healing process. The following writer briefly goes over 5 things to keep in mind if you are apprehensive on recieving Acupuncture.

By Sara Calabro

Most people, when they hear about the benefits of acupuncture, find themselves thinking, “That would be so good for me!” Less stress, more energy, better sleep and digestion… Who doesn’t want that?

But for many people, there’s one thing that holds them back from enjoying the benefits of acupuncture: Fear of needles.

There’s a spectrum of needle fears, ranging from downright needle phobic to being moderately concerned about the whole voluntarily-being-stuck-with-needles thing. Regardless, fear of needles is the number-one reason people choose to forego acupuncture…

Read More At The Source:  5 things to remember if you’re scared of getting acupuncture

Encapsulating The Ziran Moment

Taking myself towards the back of the valley, I had become compelled into taking the compostion of this photo, at this persepective. Hiking in the Forest, I witnessed the balance in nature, as it was seen, and captured the elemental forces of Yin within Yang, and Yang within Yin. A rare moment that I have been manifesting to the universe, in capturing nature being at it’s most “Ziran” harmonious state. Your continued guidance, never ceases to amaze. Dao, Heaven, Earth, and Man coexisting in inextricable bliss 🙂


Hypertensive patients benefit from acupuncture treatments, study finds

Ancient Chinese practice lowers blood pressure, may lessen stroke, heart disease risks

Date: August 19, 2015

Source: University of California – Irvine

“Patients with hypertension treated with acupuncture experienced drops in their blood pressure that lasted up to a month and a half, researchers at UC-Irvine have found. This work is the first to scientifically confirm that this ancient Chinese practice is beneficial in treating mild to moderate hypertension, and it indicates that regular use could help people control their blood pressure and lessen their risk of stroke and heart disease…”

Practicing Acupuncture in a Multi-Disciplinary Setting

By Sarah Poulin, DACM, LAc, Dipl. OM

As Americans increasingly look to integrative medicine to serve their needs, multi-disciplinary medical centers in which a variety of health care options are offered are uniquely poised to shape the medical landscape of the future.

These multi-disciplinary practices offer a setting in which the patient in search of more holistic minded healthcare can find numerous qualified professionals who can work both independently and as a team to best serve the needs of both their patients and the community as a whole…

Read More At The Source: Practicing Acupuncture in a Multi-Disciplinary Setting

Kanini’ula’okalani: Connecting to the past and present

Aloha Kakahiaka. Sharing some mana’o with you on this rainy Saturday. Mo’olelo time. So yesterday night I had a premonition to pay homage to these two powerful healing stones: Pōhaku Kanini’ula’okalani (Rare Sacred rock of Heaven to recover from sickness) And so I did and the shrine has strong mana from it, yet my na’au is telling me the stones are not really here. Just the intention placed here is conjuring the mana. Somehow there is a strong connection of them calling to me. In need to talk with people here to know more about these stones, and how these Hawaiian stones transitioned into being a Buddhist/Hindu shrine at a Protestant Church next to an Elementary school. I have so many questions and excited on this journey these stones have started for me. I’ve done some research and the address to visit this shrine is at the end. If you do intend and go to visit, can you send me some feedback on your thoughts and experiences?

Two famous healing stones of Wahiawa were temporarily located at Kukaniloko after their discovery at a nearby stream. Tradition tells of two sisters from Kaua’i whose supernatural powers were only effective during the hours of darkness. They used their powers to “fly” to O’ahu to visit Kukaniloko, but were caught by the first rays of the sun near their destination and dropped by the bank of the stream in Kaukonahua gulch where they turned into stones. They lay there until the early 1900s, when the road through the gulch was widened. After dislodging the stone, the foreman had a dream in which a stone repeatedly said to him “you have my feet up and my head down, please turn me around”. Returning to the construction site the next day, he recognized the stone and had it turned over. Two old Hawaiian men assisted him and then they revealed that the stone was named Kaniniulaokalani and held a spirit that should be cared for. The foreman arranged for this stone and its companion to be taken to Kukaniloko.

In 1925, the stones were included in a rededication ceremony at Kukaniloko. At that time, the stones gained attention when pineapple workers reported miraculous cures because of the stones. The stones became the destination for healing pilgrimages and the Daughters of Hawaii, who were the caretakers of Kukaniloko, decided to remove the stones to a cemetery in Wahiawa. There they became even more popular. People came from miles to visit them. The smaller stone was reputed to have special healing powers for women and young children. Stalls selling leis, water, incense, fruit and candies for use as offerings sprang up. Sometimes offerings of a thousand dollars a month were reported in 1927.

The popularity of the site declined with curfews and rationings during World War II. The cemetery became the site of a suburban housing development. In 1948 the stones were moved once again to their present location at 108 California Street in Wahiawa where a Japanese shrine-like crypt was erected over the stones.

I made a visit here the other day and took a photo of the shrine. Notice the rays of light and the energy surrounding and encompassing the shrine made out of white granite:



The hsin [mind-and-heart] should be calm. If the hsin is not calm, one cannot concentrate, and when the arm is raised, whether forward or back, left or right, it is completely without certain direction. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a calm mind. In beginning to move, you cannot control (it) by yourself. The entire mind must also experience and comprehend the movements of the opponent.

Accordingly, when the movement bends, it then straightens, without disconnecting or resisting. Do not extend or retreat by yourself. If my opponent has li [external strength], I also have li, but my li is previous in exact anticipation of his. If the opponent does not have li, I am also without li, but my I [mind-intent] is still previous. It is necessary to be continually mindful; to whatever part of the body is touched the mind should go. You must discover the information by non­ discrimination and non-resistance. Follow this method, and in one year, or a half­ year, you will instinctively find it in your body. All of this means you use I, not chin [intrinsic force]. After practicing for a long time, the opponent will be controlled by me and I will not be controlled by him.


If the body is clumsy, then in advancing or retreating it cannot be free; therefore, it must be agile. Once you raise your arm, you cannot appear clumsy. The moment the force of my opponent touches my skin and hair, my mind is already penetrating his bones. When holding up the arms, the ch’i [vital life energy] is threaded together continuously. When the left side is heavy, it then empties, and the right side is already countering. When the right is heavy, it empties, and the left is already countering. The ch’i is like a wheel, and the whole body must mutually coordinate. If there is any uncoordinated place, the body becomes disordered and weak. The defect is to be found in the waist and legs. First the mind is used to order the body. Follow the opponent and not your own inclination. Later your body can follow your mind, and you can control yourself and still follow the opponent. When you only follow your own inclination, you are clumsy, but when you follow the opponent, then your hands can distinguish and weigh accurately the amount of his force, and measure the distance of his approach with no mistake. Advancing and retreating, everywhere the coordination is perfect. After studying for a long time, your technique will become skillful.

To Gather the Ch’i

If the ch’i is dispersed, then it is not stored and is easy to scatter. Let the ch’i penetrate the spine and the inhalation and exhalation be smooth and unimpeded throughout the entire body. The inhalation closes and gathers, the exhalation opens and discharges. Because the inhalation can naturally raise and also uproot the opponent, the exhalation can naturally sink down and also Fa-chin [discharge energy] him. This is by means of the I, not li mobilizing the ch’i.

The Complete Chin

The chin of the whole body, through practice, becomes one unit. Distinguish clearly between substantial and insubstantial. To Fa-chin it is necessary to have root. The chin starts from the foot, is commanded by the waist, and manifested in the fingers, and discharged through the spine and back. One must completely raise the shen [spirit of vitality] at the moment when the opponent’s chin is about to manifest, but has not yet been released. My chin has then already met his, not late, not early. It is like using a leather (tinder) to start a fire, or like a fountain gushing forth. In going forward or stepping back, there is not even the slightest disorder. In the curve seek the straight, store, then discharge; then you are able to follow your hands and achieve a beautiful result. This is called borrowing force to strike the opponent or using four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds.

Shen Concentrated

Having the above four, then you can return to concentrated spirit: if the spirit is concentrated, then it is continuous and uninterrupted, and the practice of ch’i returns to the shen [spirit of vitality]. The manifestation of ch’i moves with agility. When the shen is concentrated, opening and closing occur appropriately, and the differentiation of substantial and insubstantial is clear. If the left is insubstantial, the right is substantial, and vice-versa. Insubstantial does not mean completely without strength. The manifestation of ch’i must be agile. Substantial does not mean completely limited. The spirit must be completely concentrated. It is important to be completely in the mind and the waist, and not outside. Not being outside or separated, force is borrowed from the opponent, and the ch’i is released from the spine. How can the ch’i discharge from the spine? It sinks downward from the two shoulders, gathers to the spine, and pours to the waist. This is ch’i from up to down and is called closed. From the waist the ch’i mobilizes to the spine, spreads to the two arms and flows to the fingers. This is ch’i from down to up and is called opened. Closed is gathering, and opened is discharging. When you know opening and closing, then you know yin and yang. Reaching this level your skill will progress with the days and you can do as you wish.

=A TCM Clinical Subjective Perspective=

0005517712_10Meditation is listening to the Universe, and prayer is conversing with the Universe.

I do not let my ordeals, my pain (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) interfere and affect my ability to be fully present while I am with a patient, especially during the needling process. I never want to send any negative vibrations into or onto a patient, as well as reciprocating any negative energies that are bound on a patient onto me. I wear jewelry made from the earth, to aid in protecting myself from any residual energy being transmitted from the patient. And also it protects the patient in propelling universal energy through me like a catalyst, amplifying the earthly materials surrounding me instilling their essential vibrations onto the patient. The energies that I work with, within the realm of the Tao, is to work with light, love, and warmness.

I believe the theme of overall longitudinal treatment for each patient, is working with the patient to understand who they are in relation to their ancestors, and by finding patterns in which their human existence is overcoming a similar past situation/condition. Their condition(s) can manifest in physical, emotional, spiritual constraint/pain. Herbs and acupuncture can help to stimulate a chemical response that the patient’s body needs, to assist in the patient’s willingness to resolve their past life issues. The purpose is to aid in building up on their strengths, to wield within them the ability to overcome their weaknesses, instead of the person finding out the hard way by repeating the same thoughts, behaviors, and feelings throughout their life experience. To get a feel for what herbs the patient may need for therapeutic assistance, it takes a connection of energy between patient and a higher source in knowing what the patient needs to help heal themselves on their own.

During the treatment process, I do not work against the patient’s energy, or rely on my own energy to heal. Working against the patient’s energy can make their condition(s) worse. And using my own energy to heal is not wise, as it is limited by my existing constitution and Jing reserve. If I were to use my own energy to heal, I’d probably age faster and have a short life span. The proper method of etiquette, as a practitioner, is to be a catalyst or facilitator in connecting with the universal energy of light and love, and empower the healing process in letting the patient overcome the darkness that is holding them back from transcending spiritually. Fighting fire with fire does not work as it does not naturally bring a person to a state of balance, but creates a void in another aspect of their life, which could be more harmful than how they were initially before treatment.

The main goal in mind for me is to have the patient feel validated. Having the ability to empower the will of healing within themselves, by wanting to change for the better to improve their quality of life. And then to provide universal light and love in areas that are weak for them, which can aid the patient to naturally heal their own self spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Blessings with love and light,
Evan Murao