Combining Ancient Chinese Treatments with Modern Physiotherapy

South African Journal of Anaesthesiology and Analgesia 2000; Vol 6, No 2: 26-31


Combining ancient Chinese treatment (‘seven-star’ needling and cupping) with modern Physiotherapy relieves pain, oedema and improves mobility: 4 case studies.

An ancient Chinese technique of needling has been combined with modern physiotherapy to generate relief of pain, swelling and improve mobility. The ‘seven star’ or plum blossom needling refers to a bundle of 7 short stainless steel needles attached vertically to a handle 5 or 6 inches long, or a bundle of 5 stainless steel needles attached to a handle perpendicularly (one foot long). After sterilization, the handle is held and the head of needles is tapped vertically on the skin surface with flexible movement of the wrist. The area to be tapped may be along the meridians, on points selected, on the affected area, or along both sides of the spinal column.

According to traditional Chinese textbooks on acupuncture this treatment was used to treat the nervous system, skin diseases, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, insomnia, gastro-intestinal diseases, gynecological diseases, painful joints and paralysis.

Another ancient method known as the ‘horn method’ has become well known as ‘cupping’ in Europe for treating many ailments. The cupping method promotes free flow of ‘qi and blood’ in meridians. It mobilizes the stagnation and improves the circulation thereby relieving pain.

“In the physiotherapy practice a series of patients have been treated with the combination of the ‘seven star’ needling and ‘cupping’ treatments in various circumstances over 11 years with marked relief of pain, reduction of swelling and an improvement of mobility” says Professor Phyllis Berger.

These treatments were usually applied after all the normal physiotherapy treatments such as ultrasound, massage, laser, interferential, dynamic and currents had been exhausted. 

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