How to Acupuncture for Parkinsons – Only 4 Categories of Points to Choose From!

how to acupuncture for parkinsons 4 categories of acupuncture points
scalp acupuncture parkinsons singapore

How to acupuncture for Parkinsons?

Enough has been said about scalp points in the treatment of conditions involving the brain.

Scalp acupoints are an indispensable part of treatment as they decrease the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, and delay degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, postponing and reducing the progression of PD.
Scalp acupuncture is able to significantly increase the area density, numerical density of the positive neurons relating to TH in the substantia nigra.
Overall, it is able to

  • increase the TH cells by elevating the synthesis GDNF mRNA
  • decrease apoptosis
  • promote the reuptake of dopamine

thus leading to an alleviation of Parkinsonian symptoms.

Some of the key points include:

  1. Bai Hui (百会): Able to prevent cell death of the substantia nigra pars compacta, a type of cell which is located in the substantia nigra.
  2. Si Shen Cong (四神聪): Another commonly used scalp acupuncture point combination. It is commonly used alongside let points (see below) LR3 and ST36 to promote their effects.

#2 Brain Mapping Scalp Points

scalp acupuncture parkinsons

How to acupuncture for Parkinsons?

Read on to learn more about the form of scalp acupuncture discovered and promulgated by Professor Jiao Shun Fa, a neurosurgeon from Shanxi Province in the 1970s.

The key areas of the scalp that acupuncturists use to treat PD include:

  • MA: Motor Area
  • CTCA: Chorea and Tremor Control Area

The CTCA (Chorea and Tremor Control Area) is a crucial area to needle when doing scalp acupuncture for Parkinson’s Disease. To locate the chorea-tremor area, the two landmark lines to define are:

  • Anterior-posterior midline: The starting point of the midline is the middle point between the two brows (which is what many people refer to as the “third eye”). The ending point midline is the crevice at the lower border of the occipital protuberance.
  • Eyebrow-occipital line: The eyebrow-occipital line is the horizontal line from the upper border of the eyebrow midpoint to the inferior border of the occipital protuberance.

Once these two landmark lines are defined, two additional points have to be marked:

  • The first additional point is 0.5 cm posterior to the midpoint of the anterior-posterior midline
  • The second additional point is the intersection of the eyebrow-occipital line and anterior border of the corner of the temporal hairline.

The line that is drawn between these two points is the MA (Motor Area).

The line 1.5 cm anterior and parallel to the MA is the CTCA (Chorea and Tremor Control Area).

To master treatment of Parkinson’s Disease with acupuncture, you need be able to located the CTCA with precision.

#3 Cranio Base Points

acupuncture for parkinsons points on cranio base

How to acupuncture for Parkinsons?

Next up are the points on the back of the neck, which is the base of the cranium.

The acupuncture technique called “the seven acupoints of cranial base” (SACB) was used as the adjunct to treat patients with PD in China recently and showed some interesting results. These acupuncture points reduced rotational behavior, significantly reduced the loss of dopaminergic neurons, and significantly elevated expression of TrkB in the lesioned substantia nigra.

These 7 points are as follow:

    • DU15 啞门
    • BL10 天柱 (Bilateral)
    • GB20 风池 (Bilateral)
      GB12 完骨 (Bilateral)

There is another set of  cranio base points which are similar but slightly different. They include points superior to the Superior Nuchal Line. They are:

  • DU-17 脑户 and BL-9 玉枕: These are superior to the SNL but are likely to affect the cranio base.
  • DU-15 亚门, DU-16 风府, BL-10 天柱, GB-20 风池: These points map onto the inferior border of the SNL.

The point is to choose points that stimulate the cranio base, which can be useful in treating Parkinson’s Disease.

#4 Peripheral Body Points

how to acupuncture for parkinsons - research on peripheral acupuncture points

How to acupuncture for Parkinsons?

According to research done by SH Lee (2017), out of 25 clinical trials, the main points used on the four extremities are:

  • LR3 (太冲)
  • GB34 (阳陵泉)
  • ST36 (足三里)
  • KI3 (太溪)
  • LI11 (曲池)

Acupuncture points LR3 and GB34 are often used in tandem with classical scalp point DU20 in in the treatment of Parkinson’s Diease. These 3 points help in preventing cell death in the SNpc.

Since PD is primarily associated with the gradual loss of cells in the Substantia Nigra, these 3 acupuncture points have been shown to prevent the death of the cells in this area of the brain, hence slowing down the progress of Parkinson’s.

We also know that stimulating ST36, GB34, LR3 significantly improves motor function, while slowing down dopaminergic neuronal loss in animal models of Parkinson’s Disease.

We also know that GB34 and ST36 in particular are able to activate motor-related brain regions such as the putamen, caudate nucleus, thalamus and cerebellum.

In Conclusion

If you are reading this, you are probably an acupuncturist trying to put it all together so that you can help your PD patient. I find that classifying acupuncture points in this matter is very helpful because it allows the acupuncturist to include a bit of everything we have in the arsenal, including all the good knowledge that has been researched through.

It is also helpful because this is knowledge that can be used to educate your patient. If you found this helpful, you may also want to read our research-backed article about the six potential mechanisms that acupuncture uses to treat Parkinson’s Disease.

You may also find helpful our piece of why every Parkinson’s patient should consider getting acupuncture treatment!!