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Acupuncture for 47 Cases of Acne

Acupuncture for 47 Cases of Acne

47 Acne Treated by Prick-bloodletting plus Cupping


Acne is a common disease of the adolescent, consisting of discrete papules or pustules distributed mostly over the face, neck and trunk. The lesions are consistent with the hair follicles, reddish in color from mild inflammation, and whitish oily secretion may be dispelled upon pressing with fingers, and various types result from varying seveerity of infection, such as acne papulosa, acne pustulosa, and acne tuberata. The authors report satisfactory treatment in 47 cases of the disease with prick-bloodletting by a 3-edged needle in combination with cupping.


Clinical data

A series of 47 acne patients resorted to acupuncture after other Chinese or western modalities failed to help. The group comprised 17 males and 30 females, aged between 16 to 28 years. Forty-four patients were single and 3 married. The duration of disease was of within 1 year in 18 cases, 1-3 years in 15 cases, and over 3 years in 14 cases. The disease was of the type of acne papulosa in 23 cases, the type of acne pustulosa in 16 cases and the type of acne tuberata in 8 cases.


Method of Treatment

  • selection of acupoints in 2 groups

Group 1: Feishu (UB 13), Geshu (UB 17);
Group 2: Xinshu (UB 15), Ganshu (UB 18).


  • The method: one group of the bilateral acupoints are used in each session of treatment every other day, in alternation with the other group of acupoints. Eight days constituted a course of treatment. During treatment, the patient is advised to refrain from pungent condiments and the use of irritating toilet soap, while warm water is recommended for face and bath.


  • Manipulation: the patient takes a prone position and the selected acupoints are routinely disinfected with 75% alcohol. The soft tissue of the acupoint site is picked up with the left hand and pricked with a 3-edged needle at 2-3 spots rapidly and steadily to a depth of 2-3 mm, from where blood is squeezed out with both hands before application of the cuction cup. The latter is retained for 15 minutes to suck out about 5-8 ml of blood.


Criteria of Therapeutic Effect

Cure: Resolution of the skin lesions except for some remnant pigmentation

Markedly effective : Resolution of over 60% of the skin lesions without new ones appearing during the treatment.


Improved: Resolution of about 50% of the skin lesions without new ones appearing during the treatment.

Ineffective : Resolution of less than 40% of the skin lesions, with new ones appearing during the treatment.


Results of Treatment

In general, therapeutic effects began to show after 1 session of treatment, namely, the lesions began to regress and shrink in size, with satisfactory results after 3-4 courses of treatment (See Table).


Table. Therapeutic Effect

Type of acne



Markedly effective



a. papulosa






b. pustulosa






c. tuberata













Illustrative Case

Wang x x, a male worker of 20 years, single, had acne for 2 years. He came to seek help from acupuncture when other modes of treatment failed. Examination found dark red papules and pustules over the face and neck, especially over the cheeks, where the lesions were densely packed, each with a white or black tip, some with pustules. They ranged in size from 1 mm to 0.5 cm; there was slight tenderness and a burning sensation. The patient was otherwise healthy, though with a hypersecretion of skin oil. The diagnosis was acne pustulosa. The pustules began to regress after one session of acupuncture treatment. After 5 session all pustules became dry and shrunk, and the papules reduced by 50% in number without new lesions appearing. The patient was cured after 12 sessions of the treatment, and the skin was smooth and clean on follow-up one month later.

(Note: This article has been published by Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 13 (3): 185-186, 1993)


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