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Complement Ther Med. 2004 Dec;12(4):209-16.

A systematic study of acupuncture practice: acupoint usage in an outpatient setting in Beijing, China.

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  • 1Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

Acupuncture textbooks mention a wide assortment of indications for each acupuncture point and, conversely, each disease or indication can be treated by a wide assortment of acupoints. However, little systematic information exists on how acupuncture is actually used in practice: i.e. which points are actually selected and for which conditions. This study prospectively gathered data on acupuncture point usage in two primarily acupuncture hospital clinics in Beijing, China. Of the more than 150 unique acupoints, the 30 most commonly used points represented 68% of the total number of acupoints needled at the first clinic, and 63% of points needled at the second clinic. While acupuncturists use a similar set of most prevalent points, such as LI-4 (used in >65% of treatments at both clinic sites), this core of points only partially overlaps. These results support the hypothesis that while the most commonly used points are similar from one acupuncturist to another, each practitioner tends to have certain acupoints, which are favorites as core points or to round out the point prescription. In addition, the results of this study are consistent with the recent development of "manualized" protocols in randomized controlled trials of acupuncture where a fixed set of acupoints are augmented depending on individualized signs and symptoms (TCM patterns).

PMID:
15649834
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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