Scalp Acupuncture: A Breakthrough

Scalp acupuncture was first introduced by a group of medical workers in Chi San People’s Hospital, Shensi Province, China, in the early 1970s. It represents a correlation between modern theories of neuroanatomy and traditional Chinese acupuncture and, although only a few years old, it has already been shown effective in the treatment of many clinical conditions, particularly those of the central nervous system.

Traditional Chinese theory postulates that connections exist between specific areas of the scalp and of the brain. Many of these connected areas have been found effective therapeutically when used according to accepted acupuncture techniques. They include motor and sensory areas, the chorea-tremor control area, speech and visual areas, and so on.

Figure 44

Selection of Areas

There are two basic planes to consider when identifying scalp acupuncture areas (Fig. 44): (1)the anteroposterior plane, which connects the midpoint between the eyebrows and the lower edge of the occipital protuberance, and (2) the eyebrow-occipital plane, which connects the upper edge of the mid-point of the eyebrow and the lateral aspect of the tip of the occipital protuberance, bilaterally.

Speech area no. 2 is located posterior and inferior to extreme of the parietal tuberosity and parallel to the anteroposterior plane. It is 3 cm in length (Fig. 45).

Figure 45

Stimulation areas, posterior view.

Figure 46

Figure 47

Stimulation areas, vertical view

Indications: for aphasia

Visual Area

The visual area is located 1 cm lateral and parallel to the antero-posterior plane at the level of the occipital protuberance. It is 4 cm in length (Fig. 45).

Indications: for cortical visual disturbances

Equilibrium Area

The equilibrium area is located 3.5 cm lateral to the anteroposterior plane immediately below the level of the external occipital protuberance and directly overlying the cerebellum. It is 4 cm in length (Fig. 46).

Indications: for disturbances of equilibrium caused by disorders of the cerebellum

Motor Area

The motor area is located 0.5 cm behind the midpoint of the anteroposterior plane and from there down to the junction point between the eyebrow-occipital plane and the frontal edge of the hairline at the temporal angle (Fig. 46).

Indications:

The upper one-fifth of the motor area-for paralysis of the lower extremities on the opposite side

The middle two-fifths of the motor area-for paralysis of the upper extremities on the opposite side

The lower two-fifths of the motor area (also called speech area no. 2) for central facial paralysis, motor aphasia, ptyalorrhea, and disorders of the vocal cords

Sensory Area

The sensory area is located 1.4 cm posterior to and parallel with the motor area (Fig. 46).

Indications:

The upper one-fifth of the sensory area-for pain, numbness, and abnormal sensation in the lower extremities on the opposite side; neck pain; occipital headache; and tinnitus

The middle two-fifths of the sensory area-for pain, numbness, tingling, and other abnormal sensations in the upper extremities on the opposite side

The lower two-fifths of the sensory area-for migraine headache, facial paralysis, and pain associated with arthritis of the temporomandibular joint

Chorea-Tremor Control Area

The chorea-tremor control area is located 1.5 cm anterior to and parallel with the motor area (Fig. 46).

Indications: For Sydenham’s chorea and Parkinsonism Treat the opposite side for contralateral disorders, and both sides for bilateral involvement.

Auditory Area

The auditory area is located 1.5 cm directly above the tip of the ear, with a width of 4 cm on the horizontal plane (Fig. 46).

Indications: For tinnitus, dizziness, and Meniere’s disease

Speech Area No. 3

Speech area no. 3 is located on the horizontal plane that extends posteriorly 4 cm from the midpoint of the auditory area (Fig. 46).

Indications: For sensory aphasia Motor Sensory Area for the Foot The motor sensory area for the foot is located 1 cm bilateral and parallel to the midpoint of the anteroposterior plane. It is 3 cm in length (Fig. 45; also, see Fig. 47).

Stomach Area

The stomach area is located in the frontal region and runs upward from the hairline. It is on a line directly vertical to the pupil of the eye and parallel to the anteroposterior plane. It is 2 cm in length (Fig. 48).

Indications: For upper abdominal pain

Thoracic Area

The thoracic area is located between the stomach area and the anteroposterior plane. It is 4 cm in length, with half (2 cm) being above the hairline, and half (2 cm) below the hairline (Fig. 48).

Indications: For bronchial asthma, chest discomfort, and tachycardia

Genital Area This runs upward from the frontal angle at the hairline and is parallel to the anteroposterior plane. It is 2 cm in length (Fig. 49).

Indications: For menstrual disorders

Technique Preparation

Needles: 2.5-3.0 inches long, 28-30 gauge

Position: Patient may be prone, supine, or lateral.

Stimulation After diagnosis has been made and areas for stimulation have been carefully identified, sterilize the skin routinely and insert needles obliquely into the skin or muscular layer until Teh Chi is obtained and the desired depth is reached (Fig. 49). Use electric or manual stimulation and deliver 200 pulses/min for 2-3 min, then leave needles in place for 15-20 min. Patients should be treated daily or every other day for a 2-week period, then be allowed to rest for 1 week before a second course is given. When the needles are inserted, patients usually experience a transitory numbness accompanied by sensations of warmth, heat, or twitching; these may last for several minutes before they disappear.

Figure 48

Stimulation areas, frontal view

Since scalp acupuncture is such a new procedure, further investigations are required to determine the best techniques to be used and a continuing evaluation of results is also required.

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