Acupuncture Study Shows Potential Promise in the Treatment of Autism

My daughter isn't afraid to pay a visit here

A recent study published by the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine shows promise in the treatment of childhood autism. This study, which consisted of 55 patients between the ages of 2 and 7, evaluated the use of electro acupuncture (EA) as a treatment modality for ASD. Acupuncture treatment consisted of a transcutaneus electrical device placed on acupuncture points LI-11, LI-4, St 36 and LV 3. Patients received acupuncture twice a day for 12 to 24 months. Results were based on before and after SPECT scans evaluating changes in brain activity, as well as journals kept by parents to record changes in behavior.

Results based on recorded parental observations found that ‘the patients’ active language skills were increased, they exhibited increased attention to social stimuli, smiled more, looked at others more often and responded more to their own names’. Neuro imaging after electric acupuncture showed an improvement in defect areas within the prefrontal lobe, Broca’s area, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, hippocampus, visual cortex and thalamus. A correlation was seen between the level of change and the abatement of symptoms. The researchers noted that further studies are needed to confirm results, given the limited number of participants. In addition, with regard to observational data, the lack of blinding and likely parental desire for positive outcome will need to be addressed in further studies.

Zhao, Z., Jia, S., Hu, S., & Sun, W. (2013). Evaluating the effectiveness of electro-acupuncture as a treatment for childhood autism using single photon emission computed tomography. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, 20(1), 19-23. doi:10.1007/s11655-014-1680-2

Have Anatomical Acupuncture Meridians Been Discovered?

Meridian Lines On An Acupuncture Figurine

One of the most common critiques of Traditional Chinese medical theory has been the inability to verify the existence of acupuncture meridians. For many opponents of TCM this lack of physical basis has served as a means of invalidating the entire system. Recently, however, Korean researchers within the Department of Physics and Anatomy at Seoul University believe they may have discovered anatomical meridians. Their research is based off of studies done by Bong Han Kim, a Korean research scientist, whose discoveries were largely ignored by the medical community.

These ‘meridians’, which are known as Bonghan Ducts (BHDs), are small transparent threadlike structures closely resembling fibrin strings. The ability to discern BHDs from fibrin strings is a recent development due to the discovery of a sFigur mit Akupunkturpunkten / Meridianenuitable staining agent (Trypan Blue) selective to the ducts. Bong Han Kim’s research was unable to be replicated due to his omission of this information. His original research simply mentioned the injection of a blue dye into an acupuncture point that he later observed to have circulated on a pathway similar to an acupuncture meridian.

Bonghan Ducts have been found in large arteries and veins, inside the heart, in the fascia surrounding the organs and in large lymph vessels. Though there is no certainty of their exact function, they are believed to be a part of a circulatory system possibly for hormones and tissue-regenerating materials. Other theories include the possibility that they serve as a novel pathway for cancer metastasis.


Amelie de Mahy L.Ac, providing acupuncture and Chinese herbs to the communities of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Danville, Concord and Pleasant Hill.


Neuropathy: Origins and Treatment from a TCM Perspective


Peripheral neuropathy is a disease of the peripheral nerves affecting an estimated 20 million people.  It most commonly affects the hands and feet and is associated with muscle weakness, pain and numbness. There are numerous causes of peripheral neuropathy ranging from physical trauma, diseases directly or indirectly leading to nerve damage and toxin exposure.

Walking for those suffering from peripheral neuropathy can prove difficult due to pain and an inability to accurately perceive both the ground and the position of the feet. The latter can also lead to a loss of balance. People often describe it as walking on pillows or the sensation of pebbles beneath the feet.  

fingers workingTraditional Chinese Medicine views neuropathy as the result of a deficiency and/or blockage leading to poor nourishment of the tissue. Treatment involves the use of acupuncture needles to stimulate and nourish blocked areas. Thin needles are often placed in acupuncture points near areas of numbness and pain as well as distally, based on the root cause of a patient’s neuropathy as seen from a Chinese Medical perspective. The treatment should be painless. Herbal medicine may also be prescribed to help alleviate pain and promote the flow of ‘qi’( or energy ) to the hands and feet.  Patients often notice a difference after one treatment, though it will take repeat visits to sustain the relief.

Amelie de Mahy L.Ac, providing acupuncture and Chinese herbs to the communities of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Danville, Concord and Pleasant Hill.