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Chinese Medicine Basics

Natural Acne Treatment: Ah Shi Point Acupuncture

The secret to improving your acne may be in the hands of your local acupuncturist. 

Published on 12/28/2016
Integrative MedicineChinese MedicineChinese Medicine BasicsAcneAcupunctureWesternNaturopathy
Girl with acne who is using acupuncture as a treatment

The secret to improving your acne may be in the hands of your local acupuncturist. Yep, you read that right - needles might be your secret to finally controlling those break outs!

Acupuncture is a 3,000 year-old Traditional Chinese Medicine technique that stimulates specific points throughout the body to increase the circulation of Qi, the body’s energy, and remove the imbalances that cause acne. These imbalances are called heat, dampness, and stagnation. 

Background On Acupuncture

Acupuncture points lie on meridians that connect the different parts of the body. This means, acupuncture points on the hands, feet, and belly are often used for treating facial acne.

Points that are located close to a problem area are called ah shi points (pronounced AHH-SHIR), which means an “ouch” point. Acupuncturists may use either ah shi points, whole body points, or a combination for treating acne.

Historic Acupuncture Models


Better to Use Body Points or Ah Shi Points for Acne?

Acupuncturists may have different approaches base upon their training or experience. One group recently published a study in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine to examine the efficacy of ah shi point acupuncture compared to general acupuncture therapy on acne.[1]

Thirty-six volunteers with mild acne participated in this study and were separated into two groups. One group received general acupuncture and the other received acupuncture at ah shi points. They both had twelve sessions over six weeks of their respective therapies. The results of this study showed a significant reduction in acne for both groups, with no significant difference between the groups and no notable adverse effects.

What Does This Mean?

For those of you seeking alternative therapies, like acupuncture, to treat your acne, there may be multiple acupuncture methods that work. More studies are needed to compare acupuncture techniques, but research provides great evidence that there are many effective uses of acupuncture in the treatment of acne.


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