Points - Ask the Doctor

Q: I have received many acupuncture treatments over the past few months. However, after my last treatment, my hand swelled into the shape of a bubble at one of the locations of the needle between my thumb and forefinger; it feels sore, tight, and is a little painful. Eight hours and an anti-inflammatory later, the swelling has not gone down. Is this common? Should I seek medical treatment?

A: I would suggest seeking medical treatment if the pain and swelling does not subside within 24 hours. Also, seek medical attention if the bubble increases in size, changes color, or begins to bleed or ooze.

Did the practitioner use moxa—a smoking stick that generates localized heat? Your description sounds like it could be a mild burn. If it is a burn, do not puncture it but rather simply use sterile gauze to keep it clean.

Q: What is cupping and what is it used for?

A: Cupping is a treatment modality used in traditional medical practices of many cultures. In Chinese medicine, it is often combined with acupuncture or moxabustion in order to address various conditions.

The most common use for cupping is for localized pain and musculoskeletal conditions. The cups are usually clear glass bulbs that the practitioner places on the body with the help of a flaming cotton ball or manual pump to create a vacuum and draw out pathogens from the skin. It is not uncommon to receive large red or blue skin blemishes after a treatment. These are normal and will subside within two to three days.

About our Doctors

This month's Ask the Doctor question was answered by:

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, PhD, D.O.M., Dipl. ABAAHP . from his website:


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July 2015

Volume 13, Number 7

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For inflammation, add LI4 and LI11

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