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Evidence-Based Methods of Point Selection: Using Historical Literature and Modern Research to Inform Point Selection

Evidence-Based Methods of Point Selection: Using Historical Literature and Modern Research to Inform Point Selection

One of the tremendous advantages acupuncture has over many other therapies is its rich literary tradition stretching back over two millennia, which records the ideas and clinical experiences of countless practitioners. Although the theories and practices of acupuncture are constantly evolving - as with any living medical tradition - a sound knowledge of the historical literature allows innovation to be guided in directions that are more likely to lead to effective treatment. For contemporary acupuncturists, this information is extremely valuable, and thanks to the work of numerous skillful translators, access to this literature in English is expanding rapidly. This article reviews the main schools of thought on acupuncture point selection, as well as the extant literature regarding the uses of different point categories and point groupings. A distinction is drawn between using theoretical frameworks as a basis for point selection versus recorded clinical experience. That is, practitioners have documented their successful treatment outcomes over millennia, which have been critiqued and commented upon by successive generations of other practitioners based on their clinical experience. This has generated a trail of literary evidence that, although including many diverse views, distils down to a broad consensus regarding which points are clinically effective to treat which symptoms/diseases. This work is based on a project initiated by the author in 1980 to compare ‘broad consensus’ point indications from a range of different sources against other methods of point selection for clinical consistency. This is evidence-based point selection.

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SKU: JCM 109 -5


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AuthorJohn McDonald

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