Acupuncture for Modern Problems: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Child portrait I recently went back to school at Five Branches University (FBU) and took a pediatric class through their doctoral program. You won't believe this but it had been 10 years since my last class at FBU! I was surprised how much can change and still seem the same.

The class I took was on genetic disorders and pediatrics and was taught by Lucy Hu, L.Ac., MD (China).  Lucy has 28 years experience teaching and working with kids.  I've never met anyone more dedicated to her craft and her diagnostic skills are incredible!

Lucy was my first pediatric acupuncture teacher and has had a huge influence on my career.  It was wonderful to go back to school and learn from her again, but this time as a seasoned acupuncturist.

Some of the cases Lucy presented are an amazing testament to how acupuncture can help kids when no one else can.  She treated a child with a genetic metabolic disorder called Niemann-Pick Type A (read more about it here) with acupuncture & pediatric tuina.

Lucy was able to help this little girl live for 5 years while most children with this disease die by 18 months!

She also reminded me that keen observation of a child can give us diagnostic information that may be overlooked by other medical providers. In one case she was able to diagnose jaundice by a very subtle change in skin color and sclera that child's pediatrician had missed but was later confirmed by blood test.

What really impressed me the most was how she takes the time with every case to study the child and their symptoms and make her diagnosis before applying the treatment principles.  

She is extremely effective at picking the right points and treatment protocols even for seemingly modern health problems like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). On that note, I wanted to share with you some of the research Lucy shared in the class that is coming out of China on acupuncture treatment of ASD.

Most Common TCM Patterns of Disharmony:

  1. Kidney Jing Deficiency (usually with tendency towards Kidney Yin or Yang Deficiency)
  2. Heart & Spleen Deficiency
  3. Yin Deficiency Heat

Core Points for Treating ASD:

  • Du 24, Du 20, Si Shen Cong
  • Du 16, 17
  • PC 6, HT 7
  • ST 36
  • K3, 7
  • Nie San Zhen - on the scalp 2 cun above apex of auricle needle directly down, then needle points 1 cun bilaterally from the first point in a downward direction.  Retain for a few minutes or longer if possible.
  • Scalp: Language, 2nd & 3rd Regions, Sensory Region

Of course, you'll want to make your own diagnosis and pick points accordingly, but Lucy says these are the core points used for treating ASD.  


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