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  • Writer's pictureCat Calhoun


Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease causing abnormal growth of connective tissue in the skin and blood vessels. You can see the following signs and symptoms in this disease:

  • Fingers and toes change colors when exposed to heat or cold - white, red, or blue. When fingers and toes get hot or cold, they turn white, red, or blue in response. Circulation issues are responsible for this.

  • Pain, stiffness, and swelling in the fingers and joints. Sores on the fingers and toes as well.

  • Thickening of the skin. Skin on the hands and forearms start to look shiny. Skin on the face gets tight and mask-like.

  • The immune system dysfunction targets moisture-making glands, so patient develops swollen glands, trouble swallowing, dry and itchy eyes, cloudy eyes, and dry mouth that can cause interior sores. Other s/sx that are gland and digestive related include weight loss, diarrhea or constipation, loss of taste, severe dental cavities, hoarseness of the voice, dry mouth that can cause sores in the mouth.

  • Shortness of breath and fatigue.

Basic acupuncture protocol

This is just the basics - add more points as needed for your patient, but add as few as possible to do the job. Too many points and the body gets confused about your intent.

Bilateral needling:

Right side needling:

  • Huo Ying, Huo Zhu, Lv 6* *Master Tung's Lv 6 is needled next to the tibia on the Spleen channel rather than on the bone itself. Use your fingernail to palpate and slide the needle right next to the bone.

  • Gb 39, Gb 34

Left side needling:

Point discussion:

  • Si Ma San, or Four Horses, is used for skin disorders of all kinds. There are three depths for most Master Tung points. The deepest levels are used for interior and bone disorders affecting the Zangfu. Go a little shallower, to the middle depth, for muscle and tendon issues. The shallowest depth is generally for surface issues. Most practitioners will tell you to needle deeply to start, wait a minute or so and then raise the needle to the mid depth, repeat the wait, and then raise to the shallowest depth. Some practitioners needle to desired depth and let the needle be there for the duration. Do what feels best for your style and your patients. Personally, I feel if you have cultivated your Qi well and are centered for the treatment, that you can transmit your intent through the needle, insert the needle to the required depth and let it be.

  • Wu Hu and Zu Wu Hu are used to target and guide the energy to whatever location is affected on your patient. Use the Wu Hu an Zu Wu Hu points as a microsystem of the body. You could also use point categories, TCM guide points, mirror and imaging points, etc to guide the energy where you want it to go.

  • The points on the Spleen and Stomach channel generate Qi and Blood to feed the tissues and address fatigue, while the Liver points help move the blood and Qi through the affected tissues. Gallbladder points assist with stiffness and calm the mind. The Xia San Huang points contain the Shen Guan point, which is always good for chronic and interior issues.

To treat with herbs you need formulas that move and supplement the blood. Add guide herbs to point the energy of the formula to the affected areas (usually fingers, hands, toes, and feet) - perhaps the twiggy herbs that grow at the ends of branches such as gui zhi and sang zhi.

Formulas like Tao Hong Si Wu Tang and Ba Zhen Tang could be good base formulas to start with. Evergreen's Circulation SJ could be a good option too.

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