Chronic wounds

Acupuncture treatment for chronic wounds
Acupuncture treatment for chronic wounds

Experts believe that the suffering as a result of chronic wounds remains a largely hidden and poorly supported problem in the community, and should be categorised as a chronic disease of national significance (Kapp and Sanataria 2015).

At RACM we have supported wounds related to deep and wide melanoma incisions that remain red, open, seeping, and swollen, with swelling and infection spreading; wounds  a year after surgery; weeping and inflamed leg ulcers in the elderly that do not improve after months of standard medical wound care management; and spreading redness, swelling and infection after plant and coral cuts, as well as insect and animal bites.

Chinese medicine (CM) theory teaches two acupuncture methods for treating chronic poor healing wounds called the ‘Turtle technique’ and ‘Circling the Dragon’. Our team has had excellent results when these acupuncture techniques are used in conjunction with moxibustion (a warm needle technique).

Encouragingly, there has also been some promising research over many decades supporting the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for chronic non-healing wounds as a result of:

Our CM team complements the work of medical specialists in promoting the healing of chronic wounds, and supports the continued use of standard medical intervention alongside acupuncture and moxibustion. Below is a list of some of the more recent clinical studies and systematic reviews investigating acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatment of chronic non-healing wounds.


  1. Foel, J. Acupuncture as an add on treatment in the management of a patient with ecthyma gangrenosum. (2012) doi: 10.1126/acumed/ 2012-010135.
  2. Kashiba H., Veda Y. Acupuncture to the skin induces release of substance P and calcitonin gene- related peptide from peripheral terminals of primary sensory neurones in the rat Am J Chin Med 1991; 19:189-97.
  3. Lee JA., Jeong HJ., Park HJ., Jean S., Hong SU. Acupuncture accelerates wound healing in burn injured mice. Burns. 2011 Feb; 37 (1): 117-25.
  4. Mears T. Acupuncture for chronic venous ulceration. Acupuncture Med 2003; 21:150-2.
  5. Segura E and Para O. Acupuncture treatment of lower extremity ulcers. 5th International Medicine Acupuncture Conference. Barcelona 2011.
  6. Vas J., Modesto M., Mendez C, et al. Effectiveness of acupuncture, special dressings and simple, low adherence dressings for healing venous leg ulcers in primary health care: study protocol for a cluster-randomised open-labelled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med 2008: 8:29.
  7. Sumano H., Mateos G. The use of acupuncture-like electrical stimulation for wound healing of lesions unresponsive to conventional treatment. American Journal of Acupuncture 1999; 27(1/2): 5-14.
  8. Wound Prevalence Research, Wound Healing Institute Australia, Feb 2017.
  9. Kapp S., Santamaria N. Chronic wounds should be one of Australia’s National Health Priority Areas. Journal of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association. June 2015.

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