Monday, May 2, 2011

Acupuncture Treatment for Scar Tissue

Chief-complaint: Arm numbness & weakness due to trauma
Medical-history: A right-handed young man (~21), seen & treated at a volunteer shift at a homeless youth drop-in service center. We’ll call him Amadeus.
About a year previously, Amadeus got in a fight & was stabbed in the left arm, and then thrown in jail where he received almost zero medical attention. He had one wound up in the deltoid, and a more serious one about halfway up the ventral forearm. This trauma seems to have nearly severed his extensor digitorum (while he was in jail, he couldn’t move or feel his fingers). About 4 months after the initial injury, he had surgery to repair the injury.
Symptoms: When I saw him, he had a large (about 8”) crooked scar on his forearm; the initial knife wound had a deep scar at the center, & there are 2 surgical scars extending out from it. Here’s my graphical interpretation:
The scar was raised & thick (about ¼” – ½” wide), not keloid, and colored reddish-pink to purplish in the center. The central scar was painful with or without touch and dented into the landscape of his arm; the other scars were sometimes painful. He complained of pain in the scar & fingers, numbness & lack of strength in the hand (his grip strength rated about 50% weaker than the right), also his hands tended to get cold easily. (He was also a smoker.) He was trying to do exercises with this arm; and also played guitar so was using the fingers extensively.
CM-diagnosis: Blue Plate Special (qi & blood stagnation in the jingluo)
Treatment-principle: Open channels, scour out stagnation & use a lot of moxa to restore function (to get qi & blood moving from around & outside the scar areas)
L.I. 11 or 10 (depending on sensitivity)
L.I. 5
Lu7 (pointing into the hand)
SJ5 or SJ4 (SJ=San Jiao = Triple Burner = Triple Energizer)
ashi points along the scar (4-5 needles along the scar obliquely angled in towards it)
For the deltoid scar: 4 needles pointing into the deltoid scar & L.I.-15.
Plus used indirect moxa along the length of the scar.
Most importantly, I gave him a moxa stick for self use at “home.”
Lifestyle-prescription: Strongly lectured him about cigarette’s impact on peripheral circulation.
Results: Beginning with the 2nd treatment, major scar improvement! The color changed to lighter, there was less pain, & arm overall more stronger.
He reported that the Lung/Pericardium channels felt “buzzy & squiggly”. Forearm scar felt much less tight, less swollen aspect (primary stab wound had a dense swollen feeling). Scar palpation elicited less pain, and the feeling of the scar was of a mild stickiness (not so dense as previous). also there were distinct hollow areas on each side of the original stab wound.
~ 3 months later: Due to the informal nature of this treatment site, I mostly had only treated him 1x/month. However, he had been very consistent in self-use of the moxa sticks.
His arm pain was very reduced, arm stronger & the scar had changed color to only slightly darker than the rest of the skin on the arm. (In contrast, the deltoid scar which had rarely been treated, was still a dark purple-red color.)
Synopsis: When treating trauma, ALWAYS consider using moxa!


  1. Thanks for discussing your treatment and successful outcomes here. i recently wrote a blog post about clinical pearls for treating scars, including several topical remedies on my blog: Cultivating Health with Chinese Medicine. Maybe you will find some of these suggestions helpful/useful.

  2. Thanks for discussing & treatment and successful outcomes here.It will benefit many people who are suffering from various disease.