Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for Hair Loss

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for Hair LossLosing one’s hair can be an unwanted, life changing experience. Self-esteem and social response become thrust into the forefront as many men and women scramble to slow this process. According to Relevant Research, Inc., genetic hair loss or pattern baldness affects approximately thirty-five million men and twenty-one million women in the United States. About 40% of men have noticeable hair loss by age 35 and about 80% of women by age 60. These numbers ring out millions of potential dollars reaped by dozens of toxic, sometimes painful, over-the-counter, pharmaceutical and/or surgical restoration attempts. Because of these high profile, heavily funded treatments, alternative remedies seem as if they pale in comparison. It turns out, however, that many natural attempts such as acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be a valid substitute solution if individually matched and monitored by a professional naturopathic doctor.

Scalp Stimulation
According to the Neijing, the kidney plays an important role in keeping the hair glossy, strong and in place. It states that: “kidney, determining the condition of bone and marrow, has its manifestations in the hair of the head”. Some even quote the function of the kidney as being reflected in the glossiness of one’s hair. So, when hair loss occurs, a depletion of kidney jing a/k/a shen jing bu zu, is often the culprit.

When the hair begins to thin, an acupuncturist trained in Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) will look into the sluggish/depleted kidney energy/jing and target the appropriate points. Other organs that play a role in hair loss are the lungs and adrenal glands. The following is how the three affect the hair.

  • Detoxified blood is provided by the kidneys, sent to nourish the scalp and hair health.
  • Oxygen and moisture come from the lungs.
  • Overworked, stressed adrenals can manifest hair loss.

These are some case studies that claim significant results in hair strengthening, re-growth or loss deceleration when following specific, correlating acupuncture points.

Case Study #1
A study of acupuncture for hair loss was cited in the 2004 issue of ‘Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion’. It stated that an acupuncture practice called 7-star needle therapy was administered to 110 people with the hair loss condition known as alopecia. This therapy consisted of painlessly tapping the scalp with a 7-star shaped a/k/a plum blossom needle attached to the end of a wooden paddle. In addition, ointment of astragalus root (a widely used medicinal herb derived in Asia known as “yellow leader”) was used on the scalp after the 7-star session. Blood flow was enhanced and, according to CCM, vital energy was rejuvenated and restored. The study reported a dramatic 99.1 % effectivity rate and an 83.6% cure rate.

Case Study #2
The Hubei Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine published a finding of a study in their 1994 #1 issue, page 49. It stated that 25 out of 30 cases of various baldness were successfully reversed with the application of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Furthermore, women are susceptible to hair loss often as a result of one or more of the following causes:

  • Birth control medication changes
  • Thyroid or liver disease
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • Renal failure
  • Anemia
  • Hepatic failure

Framing the Point-work
A naturopathic doctor trained and licensed in acupuncture can be the best approach to hair loss. With his or her knowledge of botanical medicine, a combination of acupuncture and Chinese topical or ingest-able herbal applications have shown positive results. Framing the proper point-work according to a patients specific health history intake is the first consideration for treatment.

Some points that my be targeted include:

Stomach (ST8) Tou Wei ‘Head Support’: Located at the anterior forehead hairline.
Lung (LU7) Lieque ‘Broken Sequence’: On the forearm just above the posterior thumb.
Governing Vessel/Du Vessel (GV14) Dazhu ‘Great Vertebrae’: About the middle of the back.
Urinary Bladder (UB13) Feishu ‘Lung Shu’: Mid-upper back.
Large Intestine (LI 1) ShangYang ‘Metal Yang’: Tip of inside index finger.

Chinese Herbal Remedies for Hair Loss
CCM reveres and relies on the calculated, historically successful use of hundreds of botanicals including herbs and other plant compounds. In many practices throughout the globe, Chinese herbs are administered as readily as a western doctor would write a script for a pharmaceutical medication. These botanical remedies below are only a handful of the many choices a capable naturopathic doctor may use for hair weakness issues after a complete patient assessment. None of these should be attempted without the strict guidance of a professional.

Psoralea Seeds – 3 to 9 grams of these seeds ingested daily has shown to restore hair loss.
Mulberries – Used as a kidney, liver and blood tonic which inadvertently strengthens hair. Other herbs used as tonics include: Polygonum, Lycium fruit, Chinese foxglove root, Chinese yam and Cornus.
Chinese Herbal Formulas – These combined herbs make up some of many formulas often used for alopecia as well as other hair loss challenges:

  • Bupleurum and Dragon Bone
  • Cinnamon and Dragon Bone

Other Herbs – Many other botanical remedies can be utilized by a naturopathic doctor.

Some of these include:

  • Stinging nettle or rosemary for dandruff (a beginning source of hair loss).
  • Arnica, marigold or southernwood for hair loss.
  • Marshmallow/burdock tea for dry, brittle hair.
  • Horsetail which contains silica an excellent supplement for hair strength and shine.

Everyone struggles with some form of misguided, stagnant energy at one time or another in their lives. When it manifests conspicuously, as in hair loss, the associated stress can further add to system deterioration. Working with a naturopathic doctor can help the body embrace its own powerful, healing mechanisms to naturally rebalance the system without toxic side effects.

At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

One Response to “Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for Hair Loss”

  1. I am interested in reading case study #1. I looked in all 12 months of the 2004 Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and couldn’t find the case study mentioned. I’m sure I overlooked it and would like some help narrowing it down. Thanks

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