Five years ago, on a discussion forum led by an eminent practitioner, there was a debate about whether acupuncture for scars was was an effective treatment. At that time, none of us was aware of any research that had been done into this, either in English nor in Chinese. I haven’t given it much thought since then, because it is very rare than anybody presents at an acupuncture clinic seeking an improvement in the appearance of scars. However, it has come to my attention recently that there has been at least one very recent piece of research done into this, at a Chinese university. There are two or three things to note initially about this research:
- The research was carried out in rabbits and is not necessarily generalisable to humans.
- The sample size of 18 rabbits is rather small, though not unreasonable in an initial study.
- This study includes not only acupuncture, but also electro-acupuncture (where the needles are connected to a mild electric current)
- The research is not concerned with the improvement in the appearance of scars, but in the prevention or inhibition of scar formation.
The rabbits were divided into 3 groups (poor rabbits !) one group received acupuncture, another group received electro-acupuncture with a continuous current, and the third group received electro-acupuncture with alternating current. Small incisions were made in the rabbits ears and then the treatments were applied to determine whether or not the treatments would prevent or mitigate the formation of scar tissue. Of the 3 groups, the electroacupuncture group with alternating current showed the best results. The original research is in Chinese, but a full summary of it in English can be read here: Acupuncture for Scar Formation