Selective puncturing at the Ashi point is a method of treatment according to syndrome differentiation. The Ashi point is something a patient is asked to locate when suffering the pain. As noted in TCM classics, a tender spot is often used as an acupoint to be needled for the treatment of pain syndrome. The exact location of the Ashi point depends upon the location of pain, and is therefore variable. From nearly five years of practice, He Wei-Shan at Staff Hospital at Tongjiang in China sums up in his study this effective therapy for patients with pain syndrome due to pathogenic wind, dampness, and stagnation of qi. The study reveals:
Old lumbar muscle strain: A 28-year-old deputy manager of a coal mine had sprained his back during work in a coal mine, and had been unable to walk since. Initial treatment relieved, but later aggravated. With the patient in a prone position, a four-cun long filiform needle was inserted at the Ashi point with reinforcing lifting and thrusting manipulation. The needle was then connected to both ends of an electro-needling instrument and energised gradually to a degree bearable by the patient. Electro acupuncture was given on specific acupuncture points for 30 minutes. After 10 days, the patient felt better with no recurrence found.
Rheumatoid arthritis: A 45-year-old female farmer had pain in both legs for six years and could not walk. Her condition was diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. With the patient in a supine position, a puncture was made into the joint cavity of the knee with a five-cun filiform needle. Electro-acupuncture was given on specific acupuncture points around the knee and on legs for 20 minutes. After two therapeutic courses (14 days), she was completely cured.
Periarthritis of shoulder: A 36-year-old man had pain in his left shoulder joint for three years. He was diagnosis of suffering periarthritis of shoulder. With the patient lying on his side, the Ashi point was punctured with reinforcing manipulation, using a five-cun filiform needle. The needle was lifted and thrusted, then connected to both outlets of an electro-needling. After 10 days, the patient returned to work with no recurrence of the pain.
Sciatica: A 40-year-old man had been suffering from severe pain in his left hip region for three years ever since he sprained his back while turning over in the bed. He was treated with medicinal herbs initially, but it had with little effect. The symptoms aggravated following a change in weather. Prednisone was often prescribed to the patient, but provided only temporary relief. The patient was later diagnosed as suffering from sciatica.
Acupuncture treatment was given at Ashi points with five-cun filiform needle for 30 minutes. The first day puncturing was energised twice, the next day once. For consolidation of the therapeutic effect, additional two courses (20 days) of the treatment were given. Subsequently, the patient was treated completely.
The author is Head of the Department of
Acupuncture, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi