Rediscovering scalp acupuncture

At the end of September, I had the opportunity to travel to Madison, Wisconsin, to attend a scalp acupuncture seminar taught by Suzanne Robidoux. I have occasionally used scalp acupuncture since learning the basics in acupuncture school over 10 years ago, but am now inspired to use it a whole lot more. I was aware of the effectiveness of the method, but needed the more in-depth instruction on how to understand it better and use it to achieve the best results possible. Over the past couple of weeks I have started to employ what I learned, and am pleased with the results so far.

Scalp acupuncture applies the ancient technique of acupuncture to a modern, scientific understanding of how the brain is mapped. The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and vice versa. The brain is further divided into different areas, each with specific jobs to control the various functions of the body: movement, feeling sensation, balance, optics, emotions, focus, and the rest.

Scalp acupuncture was developed by Dr. Jiao Shunfa in the early 1970s in China. Dr. Jiao suspected that he could effectively treat hemiplegia (one-sided paralysis) following a stroke by treating the area over the primary motor cortex of the brain on the opposite side of the paralysis. Dr. Jiao knew that the motor cortex controls how movement is initiated in the body. In the photo above, you can see the “Motor Line,” the line that Dr. Jiao first treated to test his theory.

As Dr. Jiao gained experience by treating many patients, he was able to define several areas that brought about particular therapeutic effects when stimulated with acupuncture needles. These areas were consistent with the already-mapped functional areas of the brain. He developed a comprehensive system to treat many neurological disorders, including stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, traumatic brain injury, and neuropathy.

Other doctors have expanded upon Dr. Jiao’s methods to treat even more neurological conditions. One example is Dr. Lin Xue Jian, who developed her method to treat autism, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and learning disabilities.

The beauty of scalp acupuncture is that not only is it extremely effective in treating these serious diseases, but it is also effective in treating many other conditions, including acute and chronic pain of any type, stress, digestive issues, colds, emotional upset, and more.

Scalp acupuncture is typically paired with electrical stimulation of the scalp points, by connecting the needles to a stimulater via electrodes, and a body acupuncture treatment. The needles are retained for 30 minutes. In cases of physical issues such as paralysis, tremors, pain, and numbness, some exercise must also be done with the scalp needles retained for the best effect, before leaving the office.

When our teacher insisted that a post stroke patient who is in a wheelchair should be up and walking within five weeks with two treatments per week, along with some dietary changes and herbal support, she really got my attention. I have already started to use this powerful method more in my practice, and am looking forward to helping more people feel better so they can more fully enjoy their lives.