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Common Cold, Influenza, and Acute Tonsillitis: Acupuncture Treatment



Acupuncture is effective for symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and other symptoms caused by the common cold, influenza, or acute tonsillitis.


Commonly used acupuncture points for these conditions include Dazhui (GV14), Fengchi (GB20), Quchi (LI11), Hegu (LI4), and Shaoshang (LU11) or any of the Shixuan points for bloodletting with a thick needle or a three-edged needle. Ear acupuncture, such as bleeding from one or both ear apexes, can also be used independently.


Rapid acupuncture treatment for "Wind-Cold" type fevers caused by colds, influenza, acute tonsillitis, and acute bronchitis, using points like Dazhui, Fengchi, and Quchi, has an overall effectiveness rate of 80.7%. Post-treatment observations show a decrease in body temperature, respiratory rate, pulse rate, blood pressure, and an increase in the percentage of T lymphocytes. This immediate effect is particularly significant for fevers caused by external Wind-Cold invasion.


A principle of acupuncture treatment for fevers caused by external factors like a cold is to use strong stimulation to induce sweating, especially in the upper body or head. Therefore, sensitive points on the upper limbs or head that can elicit strong needle sensations are often chosen. If general acupuncture does not induce sweating or relieve pain, bloodletting methods such as pricking Shaoshang to bleed can help induce sweating or relieve sore throats. The purpose of bloodletting is to directly stimulate free nerve endings and sympathetic nerve endings distributed along the blood vessel walls. Hence, the principle is to ensure "intense pain" and "sufficient bleeding". This explains why clinically, bloodletting with a thicker three-edged needle is more effective. When using a three-edged needle to prick Shaoshang for bloodletting, the action should be quick and accurate, not too light, with 2-3 drops of blood for therapeutic purposes.


Besides Shaoshang, stimulating Shixuan points or other fingertip points can achieve similar effects of inducing sweating and relieving sore throats. As the "ten fingers connect to the heart," fingertip points like Shaoshang are among the body's most sensitive points, belonging to central reflex areas and overlapping with reflex areas for the throat and other organs. Stimulation of these points can cause intense pain, immediately triggering a central nervous system response for sweating and throat pain relief.


In summary, acupuncture can be as effective as antipyretic and analgesic medications for symptoms like fever, headache, and sore throat caused by colds or acute tonsillitis. However, when tonsillitis progresses to suppuration, or there is severe inflammation in the upper respiratory tract, acupuncture alone may be insufficient to control the condition, and antibiotics or effective traditional Chinese medicine should be used promptly.

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