Acupuncture Continuing Education

Master Tung Acupuncture and Herbs Alleviate Tinnitus

Researchers find acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine effective for the treatment of tinnitus. Results indicate that a combination of herbs and acupuncture is more effective than using only herbal medicine. The research team chose a potent herbal formula combined with a classic acupuncture point prescription with a subtle addition. Two Master Tung acupuncture points were added to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupoint prescription. The combined protocol of acupuncture and herbs achieved significant positive patient outcomes.


Ear Point


Researchers selected 100 patients with tinnitus for inclusion in a clinical trial. They were randomly distributed them into a control group and an observation group, each consisting of 50 patients. Control group patients were administered a standardized Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal decoction. The observation group was treated with acupuncture and the identical TCM herbal formula. The results were compared after three courses of treatment: the group receiving acupuncture and herbs achieved an 88% total effective rate. The control group, receiving only herbal medicine, achieved a 68% total effective rate. The data indicates that acupuncture combined with herbal medicine, in an integrated protocol, achieves optimal clinical efficacy for patients with tinnitus and associated hearing dysfunction. 

To listen to a podcast on tinnitus and a commentary on the research, visit the following:
Acupuncture Podcast >

The 100 patients in the study had refractory tinnitus; all patients received pharmaceutical drug therapy for tinnitus in the past, with no improvements in their conditions. The goal was to determine the efficacy of acupuncture and herbs for patients unresponsive to medications. The study was conducted at Henan TCM University’s Third Affiliated Hospital from June 2014 to 2015. The patients were not taking medications for tinnitus during the study for purposes of isolating therapeutic variables. The observation group consisted of 28 males and 22 females with an average age of 47 years old. The control group consisted of 29 males and 21 females with an average age of 48 years old.

Patients in the control and observation groups consumed a version of Ma Huang Fu Zi Xi Xin Tang, a TCM decoction. Ingredients included Zhi Fu Zi, Xi Xin, Ma Huang, and Sheng Jiang. This warming decoction was boiled once per day. Patients consumed the therapeutic beverage for three days. If no therapeutic results were achieved, the dosage was doubled. The original dosage was maintained for patients demonstrating clinical improvements. One treatment course equalled one week and three courses of treatment were administered. Patients in the observation group consumed the herbal beverage combined with the following acupoint selection:

  • TB21 (Ermen)
  • SI19 (Tinggong)
  • GB2 (Tinghui)
  • TB17 (Yifeng)
  • KD15 (Zhongzhu)
  • SP6 (Sanyinjiao)
  • KD3 (Taixi)
  • Wan Shun Yi (22.08, Master Tung’s Acupuncture)
  • Wan Shun Er (22.09, Master Tung’s Acupuncture)

The needles were 0.30 mm x 25 mm in size and were perpendicularly inserted. Needle retention time was thirty minutes per acupuncture session. During that time, twenty minutes of mild moxibustion was applied to the following acupoints:

  • TB21 (Ermen)
  • SI19 (Tinggong)
  • GB2 (Tinghui)
  • SP6 (Sanyinjiao)
  • KD1 (Yongquan)

Acupuncture was applied for the same total duration as the herbal medicine regimen. Acupuncture treatments were applied for six consecutive days with a one day break during each course of treatment. The herbal medicine only group achieved a 68% total effective rate and the combination protocol of herbs and acupuncture produced an 88% total effective rate.

The use of a very warming herbal formula for the treatment of tinnitus in the treatment protocol was based on the TCM principle that tinnitus is caused by invasion of pathogenic cold combined with stagnation of liver qi. This is one of several differential diagnostic patterns associated with tinnitus in TCM. Given the strength of the herbal formula, the dispensation of the formula is only appropriate under the supervision of a licensed acupuncturist fully trained in Chinese herbal medicine.

Tinnitus affects approximately 20% of the population. Symptoms include a ringing or buzzing sound. There may also be a loud roaring, clicking, or even hissing. The frequency of tones may be either high or low. In TCM, high pitch tones are often associated with excess and low pitch tones with deficiency.

There are many biomedical etiologies associated with tinnitus. The study did not cover the treatment of tinnitus caused by Meniere’s Disease. This is often more appropriately addressed with herbal formulas similar to Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang.

The study presents an aggressive herbal medicine and acupuncture regimen demonstrating significant positive patient outcomes. At the Healthcare Medicine Institute, we have covered many research papers on this topic. Perhaps one of the most intriguing and successful recent studies was the one conducted at Central Hospital of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery in Chaoyang City.
View the study by selecting the following link: Tinnitus Study >


Du Huiping, Clinical study on effects of combined acupuncture and TCM decoction on sudden Tinnitus and hearing loss, Asia- Pacific Traditional Medicine, 2006, 12 (16).

Acupuncture Continuing Education Credits