Go to Top

Bleeding needling

Theory Bleeding needling is known as one of the oldest acupuncture techniques. In nowadays clinic it’s use is seen in a more occasional way. Most likely due to the possible danger of blood-borne agents and the concern of causing discomfort to the patient. Bloodletting techniques are described in the Lingshu. A specific lance-like needle was prescribed to cause bleeding.

Bleeding needling is primarily used at peripheral distal points at fingers/toes and at ear regions.
This section gives insight in the traditional viewpoints of ‘bloodletting’. As is mentioned this technique isn’t yet scientifically evaluated to our knowledge. Certainly this could be a new focus in Chinese Medicine research.

In Traditional theories ( Lingshu and Suwen) , bloodletting is performed to ‘drain the luo channels’ when a person has ‘excess heat’.

Four main theoretical and therapeutic aims:
1. It can invigorate the smooth flow of qi and blood, thereby picking up and facilitating its flow when the qi and blood need invigoration. An example of this scenario occurs when a patient presents with a wiry pulse and mild feelings of stagnation that indicate qi stagnation.
2. It disperses qi and blood stasis, as in cases of backache or spider veins.
3. It can drain excess heat and fire. Such excess includes pathogenic factors, as in an invasion of the Lung by wind heat that produces a fever and extremely sore throat.
4. Finally, bleeding can bring down yang rising, as in the varieties of high blood pressure due to Liver yang rising. (Note: not all cases of high blood pressure have this etiology).
Source: www.acupuncturetoday.com


Caution: work in a sterile environment with latex tight-fitting gloves! Consult your professional organisation for the recommended precautions.

With respect to the thorough explained article of Skye Abbate on bleeding techniques we cite here the explained methods:

1. Spot-pricking or collateral (pertaining to meridian) pricking method: With this style, a discrete point or spot is bled, such as ajing (well) point like LI 1 (shangyang) to relieve a toothache due to excess heat, or LU 11 (shaoshang) to treat a sore throat due to excess heat.
2. Clumping or area-pricking method: With this approach, pinprick motions are made on a relatively large scale, such as GV 14 (dazhui) to reduce excess heat in the Lungs, as in the case of pneumonia.
3. Pinching method: With this technique, the point to be treated is pinched between the thumb and index finger. This action isolates the point and promotes venous pooling, which facilitates bleeding. Bladder 2 (zanzhu) is a common point to pinch and bleed for sinus congestion or headache.

Needles In the set of 9 classical needles described in the lingshu, the fourth needle could be used for bloodletting. This needle has a tubular body with a lance-like tip.
Companies nowadays sell specific bleeding needles