Abdominal acupuncture used to treat a chronic bad back

A Sceptic’s Sciatica


Seamus inadvertently ended up in my clinic, thinking he was going to a chiropractor after a good friend recommended me, saying nothing about what therapy I practice. He thought he was attending a Chiropractor for the severe Sciatica he was suffering with due to problems with his (Lumbar vertebrae) L-3 and L-4. He was mid consultation before realising I am an acupuncturist and as he said it was too late to run (even if he could), he was now committed to give it a shot (reluctantly).

That was five years ago when he had a slipped disc, which had prevented him from taking the holiday of a lifetime! He had five Abdominal Acupuncture sessions with me and was able to return to work and made travel plans to go on a skiing holiday with his beloved, for their next anniversary.  

The next time I saw Seamus was three weeks before his planned skiing holiday, once again he was doubled up in pain across his lumbar area and into his buttock. This time we did six sessions and after four he was completely pain free again, we continued with the last two treatments in order to make sure he didn’t have to cancel the holiday.

Recently I got a phone call from Seamus, who only told me about his original scepticism about acupuncture from his original first visit. He told me that his friend who had recommended me, knew that he would not have attended his first appointment, had he known it was for  acupuncture!

Once again Seamus was in a lot of pain in his lumbar region, he had pain along the Du Mai between L-3 and L-4 which radiated across his lower back, he found it very painful to walk, drive and generally having to bend in any direction was uncomfortable and limiting. 

The First Treatment

I had not seen Seamus in almost four years and he had since been diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic. He had no problem focusing on and putting a base reference, real time score of 10 out of 10, on his pain at each location. The problem had begun 10 days earlier after he had lifted some heavy boxes.

I started with the Abdominal Meridian System (AMS) opening treatment  (Lotus Flower) which I left for 10 minutes as his energy was quite low. There are a number of functions to this treatment, it is particularly good for accessing the pre natal Qi and prepares the abdomen for the subsequent abdominal treatment. While these needles were in situ, I used this time to palpate the abdominal area and mark up the main points I would be using for this treatment.

After removing the eight needles of the Lotus Flower, I asked him to reassess his pain scores, they seemed more difficult for him to pinpoint, his back was more relaxed and he felt the pain levels had reduced by around 25% (7.5:10) and was still affecting the same areas.

I continued with the abdominal prescription I had intended to use, namely, "Heaven & Earth" Ren 12 (Zhongwan) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan) with Ren 9 (Shuifen), because of the acute nature of this current episode of his recurring back problems. I used "Harmonising the Middle Jiao" St 25 (Tianshu) & Sp 15 (Daheng) to treat the mid back nourish the muscles and vertebrae and help stop the pain, whilst also benefiting his diabetes. St 26(Wailing) Hip pt was used bilaterally for the lumbar pain. Finally I used Kid 13 (Qixue) bilaterally to consolidate the treatment for the area around L-4 and also address the problem Seamus was experiencing with his vertebrae.

After thirty minutes the needles were removed and when Seamus sat up he was relieved that the process of sitting up and putting on his shoes was a lot easier than when he had arrived, he now had little or no pain!

Second Abdominal Treatment

Seamus returned two days later he said that the pain had completely gone centrally and on the left hand side, while the right side was 60% better. He was very happy and determined to do as many Abdominal Acupuncture treatments as were deemed necessary to give him another few years without back pain! 

Seamus had to postpone his next treatment, which meant there was a ten day interval, during this time he was pain free, even after doing a 350KMs drive in one day. The stiffness was minimal although he was a little tight after his afore mentioned long drive! The treatment was similar, but without the right ahshi point at St 26(Wailing) Hip pt. 

I did the last treatment with him another week later and he was still pain free. I will be seeing him a little more regularly from here on in as he has started to have circulatory problems in both legs, I included abdominal points Ab 7 (Qipang) and Ab 4 (knee) and Ab 6 (ankle) bilaterally along with St 27 (Daju)  to move Qi down both legs and into his feet. 

Seamus has become a total advocate of Abdominal Acupuncture and has referred a number of clients to me, its great to see people change from an un educated sceptic to an acupuncture fan!


I have seen Anna twice since then and she has been able to walk better, is in less pain and her digestion and mood are more normal. She is more comfortable with acupuncture now and sees clearly the benefits of Abdominal Acupuncture. I intend to see her twice a week for 2 weeks and hopefully then we can start to spread treatments out. Her improvement to date is roughly 60-70% for 2-3 days and then it falls back to 40-50%. She is happy that she can once again walk without it being so difficult. She has not had any other arthritic joint pain and the back stiffness & pain due to Scoliosis seems to be dormant at the moment.