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Researchers from the Hunan University of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) compared acupuncture techniques for the treatment of lower back pain. The dragon and tiger fighting method was compared with the uniform reinforcing-reducing method and standard physiotherapy. The dragon and tiger fighting method bested the two other treatment modalities for superior relief of lower back pain.

An image of a dragon is depicted here. Chinese DragonEach acupuncture technique was tested using two separate acupuncture point prescriptions. One set of points was UB23 (Shenshu), UB25 (Dachangshu) and UB40 (Weizhong) plus Ahshi points. The other set of acupuncture points was a combination of UB24 (Qihaishu), UB26 (Guanyuanshu), UB60 (Kunlun) and GV3 (Yaoyangguan). In both cases, the dragon and tiger fighting technique beat out the uniform reinforcing-reduction method.

The Dragon and Tiger Method
The dragon and tiger fighting method involves alternately rotating the needle to the left nine times and rotating the acupuncture needle to the right six times. The dragon, Zi, is Yang and the tiger, Wu, is Yin. The dragon stands for the strengthening techniques of rotating to the left and the number 9, a Yang number. The tiger stands for the reducing method of rotating the needle to the right and the number 6, a Yin number. The motion of rotation is generated by rotating the needle by moving the thumb forward for the dragon technique and moving the thumb backwards for the tiger technique. Fighting stands for the alternation of rotating from one direction to the other.

There have been many studies in recent history demonstrating the efficacy of acupuncture for the reduction of bodily pain including that of lower back pain. There is a distinct contrast between studies incorporating acupuncture needling techniques and those that involve merely inserting the acupuncture needle without any needle manipulation or the arrival of the de qi sensation. An interesting investigation would be a meta-analysis of the clinical efficacy rate found in studies using advanced manual acupuncture needling techniques versus studies using only simple acupuncture needle insertion.

In general, researchers face obvious limitations. In an effort to standardize investigations, researchers often choose a set acupuncture point prescription. However, acupuncturists often customize the acupuncture point prescription, needling techniques, choice of needle types and duration of needle retention based on the patient’s differential diagnosis. Electroacupuncture, moxibustion, far infrared heat, cupping and other modalities may be combined during the acupuncture treatment to assist in eliciting a superior clinical outcome.

Perhaps the most unusual recent study compared two acupuncture points, SP6 (Sanyinjiao) and GB39 (Xuanzhong), for the treatment of dysmenorrhea. The researchers assumed that SP6 was relevant to the treatment of dysmenorrhea and they used GB39 as a control measure under the assumption that it is unrelated to the treatment of dysmenorrhea. The researchers concluded that “SP6 is not more effective than acupuncture at an unrelated acupoint in the relief from primary dysmenorrhea” because both points were found equally effective in the relief of pain. The mistake is obvious, GB39 has a primary function of relieving pain, activating the channels and benefitting the sinew and bones. Although SP6 is well regarded for the treatment of dysmenorrhea, GB39 is well regarded for its ability to relieve abdominal pain and many other forms of pain. Naturally, the researchers ran into a common difficulty. What is an unrelated point?

Many researchers attempt to find control points by selecting sham points. Sham acupoints are considered acupuncture point locations outside standard acupuncture chart notation. A great master once said that every area is an acupuncture point, however, non-acupuncture points are simply areas that we do not understand yet. As a result, so-called sham acupoints may actually have clinical efficaciousness. Researchers call these acupoints sham points but they are also technically ahshi points and/or distal acupuncture points.

In some cases, the act of needling has been found to activate a temporary reduction of pain due to the release of endorphins and the placebo effective. However, it is the true acupuncture points that cause both immediate pain relief and long term relief while the sham points have a mere temporary effect by means of raw stimulation causing the release of pain relievers by the endocrine system. Both points selections result in pain relief but it is the classical needling choices that exert pain relieving effects over a long period of time.

Cortical studies using fMRI imaging confirm that sham acupoints do not stimulate the same regions of the brain that true acupuncture points stimulate. Ultimately, the mechanisms behind the efficaciousness of true acupuncture points is entirely different than those of sham points. Moreover, true acupuncture points exert healing properties on internal organs, the nervous system and local tissues beyond mere pain relief. Also, ashi points have long been recognised to have usefulness in exerting important healing reactions within the body when chosen according to Chinese Medicine principles. For example, a simple electroacupuncture turtle technique on a non-healing open wound can heal and close the wound. In this case, either ashi points or classical acupuncture points may be selected. The importance is placed on the acupuncture technique and not the exact acupuncture needle location at each individual point. Rather, it is the placement of one acupuncture in relation to another and the angle of insertion that are of primary concern for a better clinical outcome in this scenario.

Zhao, F., et al. "Efficacy observation of nonspecific low back pain treated with the dragon-tiger fighting needling method]." Zhongguo zhen jiu= Chinese acupuncture & moxibustion 32.6 (2012): 507.

Liu, Chi-Feng. "Acupuncture or Acupressure at the Sanyinjiao (SP6) Acupoint for the Treatment of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Meta-Analysis." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).

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Below are a few of the most frequent questions we field. You can also find more on our SUPPORT page. If you still haven’t found your answer, please feel free to contact us anytime. We would love to hear from you.

Are acupuncture CEUs & NCCAOM PDAs valid in my state or province?

HealthCMi CEUs are valid in every state in the USA, including Washington DC and other regions such as Puerto Rico. Most states use the NCCAOM acupuncture CEU/PDA certification that comes with every HealthCMi course.

All courses are valid for specialty certifications from the California Acupuncture Board and the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners. HealthCMi courses are approved for Florida Board of Acupuncture CEs for acupuncture license renewal credit along with other specialty certifications such as the State of Illinois (IDFPR) acupuncture CE sponsor program. If you don’t see your state listed (North Carolina, New York, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Utah, etc.), that is because the rest of the USA is covered by the NCCAOM certification that comes with every HealthCMi course. We even have courses approved through the specialty programs of the State of Nevada Board of Oriental Medicine, ABORM, IVAS, and more. An added bonus, all courses are California Board of Registered Nursing approved, so nurses can get acupuncture CEUs and nursing continuing education credit simultaneously.

In addition, HealthCMi acupuncture CEUs are valid throughout New Zealand, Canada (including CTCMA, BC and CAAA), and Australia for acupuncture continuing education credit.

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Do acupuncture webinars count as live CEUs?

Yes. In many states that require in-person attendance, live acupuncture webinars count for face-to-face CEU credit. For example, the California Acupuncture Board allows 25 CEUs via distance learning and the other 25 must be live (in a classroom or a live webinar online). New Jersey acupuncturists also benefit from live webinars for in-class requirement fulfillment. In the USA, no quiz is required for live webinars and for CTCMA acupuncturists in British Columbia (Canada), the survey fulfills the 2-way requirement and no quiz is required.

For live webinars, do I need to take a quiz?

Quizzes are not required for live webinars, only for anytime distance learning courses. You may see a quiz button on the learning management system control panel; however, if you try to take a quiz, the system will tell you that it is unnecessary. Make sure to click the download button to get the link to the live webinar. We will also send you a link via email the day before the event.

How do I purchase Acupuncture CEU courses online?

Click on Acupuncture CEUs in the top menu to view all course listings and follow the links. Simply choose the courses you like, add to cart, and get CEU credit from our online learning system.

HealthCMi courses are NCCAOM Diplomate PDA (applies to most States), California CEU, Florida CE, Texas CAE, CTCMA (BC, Canada), CAAA, Illinois, and State of Nevada Board of Oriental Medicine approved for continuing education credit hours and more. Massachusetts licensed acupuncturist can obtain their herbal medicine hours or acupuncture category required hours. All 50 states and territories in the USA are approved for acupuncture CEU credit for HealthCMi courses. Our acupuncture CEUs are also valid throughout Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and much more.

Check listings for ABORM approved courses. All courses for acupuncturists are also California Board of Registered Nursing approved.

How long do I have to take the Acupuncture CEU courses online?

There is no time limit for course completion of your Acupuncture CEU or PDA courses.

How many times can I retake Acupuncture CEU course quizzes?

You make re-take quizzes until a passing grade is achieved. A certificate of completion is automatically generated, and you may print it. There is no extra charge to re-take quizzes.