China Lists Acupuncture as Recommended Coronavirus Treatment

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China’s government recently designated acupuncture as a recommended treatment for symptoms of the Chinese coronavirus, China’s state-run Global Times reported Thursday.

China’s ruling Communist Party released the ninth edition of its “COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] prevention and control guidelines” on March 15. The manual officially listed acupuncture for the first time as a recommended treatment of the disease’s mild or severe symptoms.

The newly updated manual stated the following:

The application of different acupuncture points is recommended for different types of patients. For example, the acupuncture point “hegu” can be used to treat those with mild symptoms by promoting blood circulation and clearing heat. Acupoints “kongzui” is among the acupoints for the treatment of common patients with asthma and hemoptysis [coughing up blood].

Acupuncture is an ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique dating back to 2,500 B.C. that allegedly helps to relieve bodily pain and improve one’s general health. The practice consists of “the insertion of one or several small metal needles into the skin and underlying tissues at precise points on the body,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Liu Baoyan, the president of the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies, recently told China’s Science and Technology Daily the following, as quoted by the Global Times:

In early phase of combating COVID-19, acupuncture was merely an auxiliary method to treat patients. But experiences of treating patients in Wuhan, Hubei Province and other provinces has shown that the method is effective. …

Zhang said the reasons why acupuncture works on COVID-19 is that stimulating the acupoints dispels pestilence, improves self-protection ability of the viscera and organs so as to alleviate the damage caused by the virus to the organs.

Moxibustion is another TCM technique that involves “burning small cones of dried leaves on certain designated points of the body, generally the same points as those used in acupuncture,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

“The principle of TCM treatment is not aimed at the virus itself, instead it works to improve the human immune system, so that the strong resistance and immunity of the patient can defeat the virus,” Zhang explained to Science and Technology Daily in recent days.

Science and Technology Daily is the official newspaper of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

China’s government has long promoted TCM as a possible treatment for various health issues. The state support has helped TCM grow into a billion-dollar industry in recent years. The practice has also spread to other parts of the world, including Iran and Taiwan.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said her government is “committed to providing the people with comprehensive access to TCM,” while speaking at the 13th Taipei Traditional Chinese Medicine International Forum on March 14.

“To this end, Taiwan’s National Health Insurance program allows traditional treatment options for a vast array of conditions ranging from cancer to maternity care,” she noted.

Tsai, on March 14, claimed the use of TCM in Taiwan had helped to reduce the number of deaths of Chinese coronavirus patients over the past two years.

“Its successful use in combating COVID-19 deaths has demonstrated the potential that traditional Chinese medicine developed in Taiwan has in international markets, and the government would ensure the quality of the medicine produced,” she said.

Tsai made the remark while attending the 92nd anniversary of the founding of Taiwan’s National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health agencies have cracked down on entities promoting unproven antiviral treatments for the Chinese coronavirus such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. Similarly unfounded allegations by the Chinese government and other eastern governments that TCM may treat the Chinese coronavirus have gone largely unaddressed by most global health experts.

The CDC does not list acupuncture among its approved treatments for the Chinese coronavirus. Instead, the CDC designates acupuncture as an example of “complementary and alternative medicine” on its official website.

“Complementary and alternative medicine are medicines and health practices that are not usually used by doctors to treat cancer [and other ailments],” the U.S. public health agency writes.

“Complementary medicine is used in addition to standard treatments,” the CDC explains, adding, “Alternative medicine is used instead of standard treatments.”

The CDC has approved several possible treatments for “people at high risk of disease progression” if they contract the Chinese coronavirus. These treatments include the following:

Monoclonal antibody treatments [that] could help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus.

Oral antiviral medications that target specific parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can help reduce its multiplication and spread through the patient’s body.

“SARS-CoV-2” is the type of coronavirus that causes the disease known as “COVID-19,” or the Chinese coronavirus. Specific medications that fall within the categories of Chinese coronavirus treatments approved by the CDC may be found on the “NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines” website. “NIH” is the initialism for the National Institutes of Health, which is the U.S. government’s top public health research agency.

CDC-approved treatments for some “symptoms” of the Chinese coronavirus, such as fever, include over-the-counter medications “like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.”


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