Two Santa Fe doctors, successful at treating patients with scalp acupuncture, champion Chinese technique in new book

A frontal view of stimulation areas used in scalp acupuncture. Scalp acupuncture areas are frequently used in the rehabilitation of paralysis due to stroke, multiple sclerosis, automobile accidents and diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

Robin Martin A woman in a wheelchair, victim of a car accident, was brought to a Santa Fe acupuncture clinic paralyzed in her legs, feet and hands.

Doctors Jason Jishun and Linda Lingzhi Hao specialize in scalp acupuncture that they use to treat patients who have not responded well to traditional acupuncture or Western medicine. This story is related to Chinese Scalp Acupuncture, a book they published this year.

The couple found that the patient was paralyzed in all four extremities and was suffering from widespread muscle spasms. After the first treatment, she could wiggle her toes and her muscle spasms decreased. After more scalp acupuncture treatments, she had regained all movement in her hands and arms, and could walk with a cane.

The doctors’ success in treating paralysis and other nervous system disorders has lead them to demonstrate their technique nationally and internationally. They recently returned from leading a workshop in Denmark.

During workshops, the Haos lecture and show their technique to acupuncture practitioners and Western medical doctors. They will demonstrate on a patient who suffers from a central nerve disorder. During workshops, participants practice on one another, and after two days of theory, technique and skill training, they return home to work on their own patients.

The Haos showed physicians at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., that they could relieve the phantom pain suffered by soldiers who had limbs ampu- tated. Jason Hao said that at one Washington workshop, they showed the participants four points on the scalp to treat amputees with phantom pain in their missing limbs. He treated seven soldiers. Three were instantly pain free; three had significant improvement; and only one had no improvement at all.

At a New York City workshop, the Haos were able to improve the mobility of a man who had been paralyzed by a stroke 11 years before.

In the introduction to their book, the Haos write: “Chinese scalp acupuncture is a contemporary acupuncture technique integrating traditional Chinese needling methods with Western medical knowledge of representative areas of the cerebral cortex. It has been proven to be a most effective technique for treating acute and chronic central nervous system disorders.

“Scalp acupuncture often produces remarkable results with just a few needles, and usually brings about immediate improvement, sometimes taking only several seconds to a minute.”

The technique is different from traditional acupuncture, where doctors put a needle into a specific point on the body, usually far away from where the complaint lies. In scalp acupuncture, whole areas are needled. These areas correspond to parts of the brain which have been damaged by stroke, trauma or other means.

Hao said that traditional acupuncture can help with some neurological problems, but can take weeks, whereas in scalp acupuncture, results can be swift.

The technique is a melding of Western knowledge of neurology with ancient Chinese medicine. Unlike traditional acupuncture whose history dates back thousands of years, scalp acupuncture was developed in the 1970s.

The husband and wife team studied the technique from the Chinese doctors who developed it.

Linda Hao has a doctorate in acupuncture from Heilongjiang University in Harbin, northeast China. Jason Hao earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in traditional Chinese medi- cine from the same university, and an M.B.A from University of Phoenix. He said studies for a medical degree in China require 60 percent traditional Chinese medicine, 40 percent Western, including pharmacology from both cultures. Medical students learn the Chinese way to diagnose ailments, which include: checking the pulse, looking at the tongue, palpitating points and listening to the patients’ complaints. They also study Western diagnostic techniques such as electrocardiograms and blood tests.

Linda Hao’s specialty is fibromyalgia, pain in the muscles and surrounding tendons and ligaments. This was the subject of three years of research she did for her Ph.D.

She also specializes in traumatic brain injury. She performed seven treatments on a man who suffered from such an injury. He had been disabled with memory problems and pain for three years. He is now back at work.

Jason Hao first came to Santa Fe in 1992 to teach at Southwest Acupuncture College. His wife Linda and their son later joined him in the United States.

Today, they maintain offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, drawing patients from across New Mexico and beyond.

One lawyer from Southern New Mexico, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 20 years previously, came to the Albuquerque clinic after having been semi-disabled for 12 years. He is now clear of symptoms, and back at work full time. He teases Jason Hao that he gets more calls at his office wanting information on acupuncture than he gets for his law practice.

The Haos say that 20 years ago, few doctors in the area were familiar with acupuncture. Some 10 years ago, a few began to refer their patients for treatment. Today, many insurance companies pay for acupuncture, often without a referral.

Jason Hao said that scalp acupuncture can work even on patients who don’t believe in it, but the healing process is much faster if they follow instructions and try to get better. Success of the treatment depends on the patient’s constitution, age and the amount of damage to nerves.

Chinese herbs are usually part of a treatment, although the Haos prescribe these slowly when patients are taking many Western pharmaceuticals.



The Haos’ book relates many instances where sufferers from multiple sclerosis and other neurological complaints have been helped through scalp acupuncture.

Chapters are devoted to pain, paralysis, aphasia (difficulty speaking), pediatric disorders, male and female complaints and neuropsychological disorders. Case histories of each complaint describe the patient before and after treatment, explain areas of the scalp to be needled and the technique for manipulating needles.

Other chapters discuss Western studies of brain and skull physiology, Chinese medicine theories about scalp acupuncture and a discussion of needling techniques.

The book is written for medical practitioners, but the case studies are fascinating reading for a layperson.

OTHER TREATABLE CONDITIONS

Jason and Linda Hao say that scalp acupuncture can be used to treat the following conditions:

Paralysis

Traumatic brain injury

Coma

Multiple sclerosis

Concussion

Fibromyalgia — chronic pain in muscles, surrounding ligaments and tendons

Shingles

Gout

Aphasia — inability to speak

Difficulty swallowing

Phantom limb pain after amputation

Bell’s palsy — weakness of muscles controlling facial expressions

Plantar fasciitis — pain in the sole of the foot

Meniere’s disease — dizziness and vertigo

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