Acupuncture treatment of a patient with the spinal cord totally interrupted


Male, 32 years old, stabbed between the fifth and sixth cervical vertebra - homicide attempt.

On surgery, the neurosurgeon saw the complete damage of the spinal cord between cervical vertebras five and six. After surgery the patient was transferred to a neurology ward for rehabilitation and other investigations. As Acupuncturist I was called by my fellows neurologists to try to treat the constipation of the patient.

Clinical examination

Patient aware, oriented spatially and temporally. Talks normally, remembers the situation before, during, and after stabbing. Tetraplegia. There was only a weak flexion of the forearm on the arm (degree 2 to 3) that the patient could do. He could not move the fingers, but he could move his head and neck. The other organs and systems seemed to function relatively well. Functional constipation.


I stimulated the points Gall Bladder 34, Large Intestine 3, Stomach 36, Spleen 5. All of them bilaterally.
When I twisted the needle in the point Spleen 5 (Shangqin), I noticed that after 20 seconds the patient began to breath very deeply, involuntarily. The breathing seemed to be abdominal and superior thoracic (with the intercostal muscles).

The deep breathing was present all the time I manipulated the needles and continued 20-30 seconds after I stopped manipulating them. The situation repeated every time I manipulated the needles: i.e. 20 seconds manipulation with normal breathing, followed by involuntary hyperventilation; when stopping the stimulation, the patient continued to hyperventilate for another 20-30 seconds.

The same was obtained when I bilaterally stimulated the points Gall Bladder 34 (Yanglingquan), but less obvious. I did one treatment per day using three points bilaterally.
The third day, after two treatments, the patient was able to eliminate the faeces.
I then tried to treat his paraplegia. The results were null, but the hyperventilation repeated when stimulating the points Gall Bladder 39 (Xuanzhong) bilaterally.

The hyperventilation continued to appear for two weeks, every time I did the treatment.
I obtained the same effect by electrically stimulating the same points.
The status (paralysis) of the patient did not change, which was normal considering that the spinal cord was totally interrupted.

It is difficult to explain how the automatic deep breathing of the patient appeared and the length of the time period - 20 seconds (maybe a poly-synaptic neuronal path).


Stationary while in hospital; after two weeks the patient went home where he died three months later.

Dr. Constantin Dumitrescu
4918 Bathurst St., Apt. 304
Toronto, ON, Canada
M2R 1X7 Email: