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Treatment of 42 Cases of Alopecia Areata with Plum-blossom Needle

ABSTRACT: In the present study, 42 cases of alopecia areata were treated by tapping the locus with plum-blossom needle and rubbing the local skin with fresh ginger. After 1 -- 3 courses of treatment, 41 cases were cured, with the cure rate being 97. 62 %.

KEY WORDS: Alopecia areata Plum-blossom needle

Alopecia areata is a common disease, manifested by circumscribed baldnessm suddenly without any subjective symptoms. It often results from disturbance of blood supply of the scalp hair follicle due to Psychic factors or endocrine dysfunction. In fact, it is a somatic reaction of psychological disorder and belongs to the category of psychosomatic diseases. The author of the present paper adopted plum-blossom needle therapy to treat it and achieved satisfactory results. It is summarized as follows.

This series of patients contain 42 cases including 23 males and 19 females. The youngest was 11 years and the oldest 45 years. The shortest duration of disease was 10 days and the longest 5 months. Among them, 17 cases had single small area of pelade and 25 had multiple (more than two) small areas of pelade.

After routine sterilization of both the local pelade skin area and plum-blossom needle, the plum-blossom needle was taken to tap the alopecic scalp area, keeping the needle tips falling down stablely and correctly. In accordance with changes of the local scalp, needle flicking method was selected, if no apparent changes were found, the scalp was stimulated with moderate force till the local area got flush. Mild tapping manipulation was employed for slight reddish and slight swelling scalp and strong tapping manipulation employed for depressed, pale and bright scalp till the local area had a slight oozing of blood. Then, a sliced fresh ginger was used to rub the local scalp for a while. The treatment was given once every 3 days, with 10 sessions being a therapeutic course.

Standards for evaluating the therapeutic effect:
Cured: After treatment, if the hair in the locus grew clearly and the scalp color got normal, it was considered as the cured; and if the hair losing scalp area had no apparent change or only very thin hair grew up at the edge of the locus, it was considered as no effect.

Of the 42 cases, 34 were cured after one course of treatment, 4 cured after 2 courses, 3 cured after 3 courses, and 1 had no effect. The cure rate was 97. 62 %.

Ms Liu, aged 43 years, a self-employed laborer, her first visit was on May 6, 1998. She complained of having found 4 small regions of baldness just a moment ago. She also told me that her own cigarette-buffet was stolen in February and thus underwent mental hitting, thereafter, she often found her hair dropping in wisps when combing her hair. Inspection showed that the hair losing areas were ellipse-like, clear in edges, smooth at the surface of scalp, and had no infection, with the area being 3X 2 cm², 2 X 2 cm², and 1. 5 X 1. 5 cm² (two areas ) respectively. After 4 sessions of treatment with the methods mentioned above, white thin hair began to come out in the locus; after 8 sessions of treatment, the white thin hair got black and thicker; and after one course of treatment, her hair turned to normal.

At the present, the pathogenic factors and exact key links of attack are still unknown. But disturbance of blood supply and malnutrition of hair in the local region are considered as the basic links by Western and Chinese medicines. Plum-blossom stimulation can improve topical blood supply and nutrition of hair and increased activity of hair follicles. Fresh ginger is pungent in taste and can cause capillaries to dilate and increase topical blood supply and nutrition of hair, promoting growth of new hair. Therefore, it is considered that improvement of local blood supply and hair nutrition is one of the possible mechanisms for plum-blossom needle treatment of pelade. Because the onset of pelade is related to mental factor, So, during treatment, the patient should have enough sleep, keep optimistic mood, avoid extraordinary mental stimulation, and strengthen his or her confidence of curing disease which are all favorable to treatment.

(Guo Xuemei, Taiyuan central Hospital, Shanxi 030009, China) 

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Jing ICP Record No.08105532-2