Posted by: corneliadavies | June 4, 2014

Scalp Acupuncture

Scalp acupuncture

I’ve recently been on a post-graduate course in scalp acupuncture. While most of us acupuncturists use points on the scalp, scalp acupuncture is a different discipline, which uses joined-up zones on the scalp, and which has a different theory behind it. As is the case for many acupuncturists, some of the theory was covered during my TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) training in China, but no practical was included. I’ve wanted to do a hands-on scalp acupuncture course for ages, as I’ve had a growing suspicion that it would enhance the treatment I can offer to a specific handful of people in my practice. However, there aren’t often scalp acupuncture courses available in the UK, so this was an exciting opportunity.

The course was great: we covered theory, and we also spent some happy practical time working out how to locate the zones, measuring each other’s heads, and finally, carefully and gently, learning the needling techniques, which are slightly different from regular acupuncture ones. So I had my head zones needled as well as trying it out on my fellow work-shoppers. (Don’t ever let me hear you say I don’t practise what I preach!)

One of my colleagues, a lovely man called Paul had the “right” sort of haircut (shaved!) and, inevitably, he went home with felt pen lines drawn on his head, which he encouraged us all to photograph and film. Our lecturer, Dr Liu, was worried about marking up Paul’s head: “But you’ll go home with marks showing on your head…”  “It wouldn’t be the first time,” answered Paul with a genial smile, “Acupuncturists always want to draw on my head!”

Scalp acupuncture was pioneered in the 1970s by various Chinese doctors. One of these, Dr Jiao Shunfa, was a doctor of neurology who developed scalp acupuncture as a further method of benefitting brain function.  Because of his neurological expertise, he was able to identify specific area of the brain that he felt might benefit from the insertion of acupuncture needles close by, though on the outside of the scull, in the scalp. All Chinese doctors study both Western medicine and TCM during their training, which puts them in a strong position when it comes to combining knowledge of both disciplines.

Nowadays, scalp acupuncture is used in Chinese hospital departments, particularly ones working in the fields of neurological problems, such as stroke rehabilitation and Parkinson’s disease.

Not all Western acupuncturists use scalp (zone) acupuncture, as there are all sorts of different post-graduate training opportunities open to us each year, and we each make our own choices on how best to advance our professional skills.

For the majority of patients TCM alone is a very, very good option. However, I’m beginning to experience that the addition of scalp acupuncture is useful with certain people with specific, mainly neurological issues.

If you’d like to read more about scalp acupuncture you could try googling and see what comes up, or try this link:


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