How to Acupuncture for Parkinsons – These are the 4 Categories of Points to Choose From!
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:
- 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.
- 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
This is the form of scalp acupuncture discovered and promulgated by Professor Jiao Shun Fa, a neurosurgeon from Shanxi Province in the 1970s.
The areas of the scalp that acupuncturist use to treat PD include:
- MA: Motor Area
- CTCA: Chorea and Tremor Control Area
- LMSA: leg motor and sensor area
- MS4 额旁3线
- MS6 顶额前斜线
- MS8 顶旁1线
- MS9 顶旁2线
- MS14 枕下旁线
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
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
According to research done by SH Lee (2017), out of 25 clinical trial, 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.