The first step in longevity is surviving a catastrophic event. A compromised 76-year-old woman with COPD, CHF, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, and pulmonary hypertension came out of an evening supper event at a local golf course where she consumed more wine than usual, fainted, and fell to the ground. She was lifted to a bench, where she was slumped over, apparently not breathing. When I arrived to help and could not find a radial pulse, I took a ballpoint pen from my pocket and began to vigorously stimulate Governor Vessel 26. GV-26 is a very famous acupuncture point one-third of the distance below the nose and two-thirds of the distance above the upper lip in the midline. She immediately groaned and took a breath and said, "What am I doing here?" as an emergency vehicle pulled up to take her to the hospital. She died several years later.
Of course, the universe of acupuncture has a glorious history and is important knowledge for every practitioner. Administering homeopathics and neural therapy in acupuncture points always adds therapeutic power. We should all know at least major acupuncture points. Keeping acupuncture needles in your office is helpful in every realm of medicine and is especially important if your patients are not doing well acutely. Stimulating GV-26 can be done with a fingernail, hairpin, ballpoint pen, or 25- or 27-gauge hypodermic needle, but an acupuncture needle is certainly the best instrument for the job. On occasions over the years, after needle shock or hypoglycemic shock episodes after IVs when the patient is syncopal with eyes rolling back in his head, pupils dilated, and unresponsive to sternal stimulation, I've found that inserting an acupuncture needle in GV-26 and quickly rotating it clockwise has always produced an immediate return to consciousness and great sighs of relief from family and staff. We have never lost a patient from acute shock or hypoglycemia. It is a good idea to learn how to master acupuncture needle insertion technique; it's pretty straightforward. Wouldn't this technique be amazing to employ in emergency situations, ERs, and ICUs quickly before defibrillation or intracardiac epinephrine?
My teacher and good friend Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD, recounts the case of a young woman at a ski resort who had an asthmatic emergency and wasn't breathing. He arrived on the scene and removed a safety pin from a strap holding up his ski pants and began stimulating GV-26. She immediately took a breath and was revived.
Joseph Helms, MD, in his excellent workbook Medical Acupuncture for Physicians (circa 1997) is currently the director of the Helms Medical Institute and gives GV-26 three stars, a very high rating. He notes the indications for its use.
Excellent point when tonified (clockwise twirling) vigorously for needle shock, loss of consciousness, vertigo, epilepsy, syncope, and acute lumbar or cervical spasm and pain, shock, sunstroke, facial paralysis and swelling, clenched jaws, tooth pain, Qi surging into the heart and chest or surging into the head, inability to stand upright, epilepsy, neck stiffness, stuffed nose, weak respiration and resuscitation. Needle GV-26 with BL-40 for acute pain in lumbar spine.1 (Used with permission of author.)
Practically speaking, when your patient is not doing well and you have run out of other good ideas, twirl GV-26 and you will never be disappointed.
1. Helms JM. Point Locations and Functions. Berkeley, CA:
Medical Acupuncture Publishers; 2001:240
Michael Gerber, MD, HMD