Can any one deny that acupuncture is one of the best treatments available to mankind for hysterical diseases? Hysterical patients truly are suffering—it’s just that they have no physical symptoms. Because acupuncture can deliver a full scale treatment with no physical side effects, it is an excellent solution for hysterical problems of the mind-body. The following three case histories demonstrate the practical effectiveness of this claim.
Hysteria Disease—Three Cases
by Dr. Huang Xing Yi
Hai Nan Province People’s Hospital
From Zhong Guo Zhen Jiu, Vol 15, No. 2 April 1995, page 44.
Case #1: Hysterical Aphonia
Chen XX XX, Male, age 27, peasant
Comments from the patient’s companion: The patient had been accidentally injured in the front of the chest by someone in a dispute. He suddenly felt unendurable pressure in the chest region, and then had difficulty speaking. This gradually developed into aphonia that had lasted for half a year. Treatment at a local hospital was ineffective, so he came to our hospital for treatment. Examinations by specialists discovered neither organic pathological changes nor pathological neural responses. The diagnosis was hysterical aphonia.
Point selection: Ren Zhong (GV-26), Tian Tu (CV-22), bilateral Nei Guan (PC-6), Dan Zhong (CV-17), bilateral Zu San Li (ST-36), and left Hou Xi (SI-3), etc.
After obtaining qi, lifting, thrusting, and rotating needle methods were used to summon the qi. Suggestions were made that the needle sensation would be propagating to the chest region. Simultaneously the patient was encouraged to attempt speech; in about 5 minutes his voice began to make sounds. Lifting, thrusting, and rotating were repeated at five minute intervals. The needles were retained for a total of thirty minutes. After the needles were removed the patient could make strong sounds, as well as multisyllable speech. After the patient was treated with acupuncture on the second day, he had a clear voice and could speak lucidly. He had recovered to normal.
Comment: Hysteric aphonia is a symptom that Chinese Medicine ascribes to visceral agitation. Due to external injury of the collaterals and vessels, the qi dynamic lost regulation while the heart qi was obstructed. This lead to blocked heart portals and aphonia. It was treated by opening the heart portals and regulating the qi dynamic. Ren Zhong was selected to rouse the spirit and open portals. Tian Tu opens the throat’s sound. Nei Guan and Dan Zhong free the collaterals, loosen the chest, and regulate qi. Zu San Li frees and regulates qi and blood. Point Hou Xi was added as an experienced point for visceral agitation. The patient was also given suggestions [as part of the acupuncture treatment]. As qi normalized, the speech returned.
Case #2: Hysterical Dysphagia
Chen XX XX, female, age 47, party official.
The patient explained that for the last two weeks she had thoracic oppression, and during the last three days she had steadily developed difficulty swallowing when eating. Treatments with both Western and Chinese medicines were ineffective. Examination in the internal medicine department ruled out any organic pathological changes in the esophagus. The diagnosis was hysterical dysphagia, and the patient was referred to the acupuncture department.
Point Selection: Bilateral Nei Guan, Dan Zhong, Tian Tu, bilateral Zu San Li, and right Hou Xi, etc. After obtaining qi, lifting, thrusting, and rotating were performed to summon qi to the location of disease. When needling point Nei Guan and summoning the qi to the thoracic region, lifting, thrusting, and rotating were carried out once every five minutes. Needle retention lasted thirty minutes. The patient felt her thoracic region had loosened and was disinhibited. At that time when she tried drinking some water she could swallow with no difficulty. Acupuncture treatments were given once daily, and after five treatments the disease was completely cured.
Comments: This patient’s case is ascribed to Chinese medicine’s “plum pit qi.” It is from excessive anxiety and thinking, as well as liver qi depression and binding. The depression engenders phlegm, the interaction of phlegm and qi makes an obstruction, and this binds the throat, thorax, or diaphragm. The treatment is primarily to rectify qi and transform phlegm, resolve depression and disinhibit the throat. The point selections of Nei Guan and Dan Zhong soothe and resolve depression and binding in the thorax and diaphragm. Tian Tu frees and disinhibits the throat qi’s bi obstruction. Zu San Li regulates and rectifies the spleen and stomach. An experienced point for hysteria, Hou Xi, was added along with coaching and suggestions to make swallowing free and normal.
Case #3: Hysterical Hiccups
Li XX XX, female, age 50, peasant.
The patient explained that due to an unharmonious household she felt unhappy and oppressed. She felt a discomfort in her venter region, and steadily developed paroxysmal hiccups that had continued for three years. Previous treatments with Western and Chinese medicines were ineffective. She came to our hospital’s internal medicine department for diagnosis; they ruled out external organic pathological changes and diagnosed hysterical hiccups. She was referred to the acupuncture department for treatment.
Point selections: Ren Zhong, bilateral Nei Guan, bilateral Zu San Li, right Hou Xi, and so forth. After obtaining qi, lifting, thrusting, and rotating were performed to summon qi. As point Nei Guan was being needled the patient felt a tingling distension that went from Nei Guan along the hand reverting yin pericardium channel toward the venter region. Lifting, thrusting, and rotating were carried out once every five minutes during the thirty minutes that the needles were retained. Afterward the patient felt soothed and disinhibited in the thoracic region, and the hiccups had ceased. At a consultation on the following day, the patient reported still feeling soothed and disinhibited in the thoracic region, but occasionally there were light hiccups. Therapy continued once each day for five days. The thoracic oppression and hiccups dissipated, and the patient was cured.
Comment: Hysterical hiccups conform to Chinese medicine’s running piglet pattern. When anger affects qi, wood in exuberance can rebel on spleen earth, and result in chaotic counterflow and surging stirs from the spleen-stomach qi dynamic. Gradually the hiccups become audible. The treatment was [designed] to regulate the spirit and quiet the heart, soothe and resolve depression and binding of the spleen-stomach, and make the qi dynamic free and disinhibited so that the hiccups would automatically cease. Ren Zhong is a point of the governing vessel; it has the function of regulating qi and quieting the spirit. Nei Guan governs regulating the qi dynamic of the thorax and venter. Zu San Li downbears and normalizes the stomach qi’s upward surges to stop hiccups. Hou Xi was added as an experienced point for hysteria. These four points attained the therapeutic result of downbearing counterflow, harmonizing the middle, and resolving depression.
Concluding comments: All three of the patients in these cases had been diagnosed by specialists. After ruling out organic physical pathologies or mental pathologies, they were clearly diagnosed as hysteria. They all ascribe to physical hysterical patterns. The specific point selections and combinations were based on the presenting symptoms. In every case lifting, thrusting, and rotating methods summoned qi to the location of disease. In all cases there was a satisfying therapeutic result. This is supplied to fellow acupuncturists with hopes of receiving comments and criticisms.
Part of the procedure in treating patients with hysterical symptoms is to use “An Shi,” which is to say clues or hints. The clues may be to indicate or say that the patient will feel their qi moving, or that their voice may return, and so forth. This techniquecould have great clinical value.
Finally, when a patient feels that their qi has been summoned, this contributes to the goal of curing their pain.