Western medical concept of Warts, Plantar warts,Warts on the dorsum of the hand,Warts on the palms.
Western medical concept
Warts are small solid growths, arising from the surface of the skin. They are usually due to a papillomavirus infection of the skin. They typically disappear after a few months but can last for years and can recur. They are highly infectious, and it is estimated that 10% of the population suffer from them. The infection is most likely to be spread in schools by hand-holding games, and among adolescents by walking barefoot on gymnasium fl oors and around swimming pools (Figure 6.7).
Warts come in various sizes and shapes, alone or in hundreds.
Common warts develop on the skin of children and young people on the knuckles, on the backs of the hands and on the knees. Occasionally such warts come out in a crop. In structure, they consist of a bundle of fi bres produced by overgrowth of the papillae in the true skin, each bundle enveloped by a cap of the horny cells that cover the surface of the epidermis, and the whole mass being surrounded by a ring of thickened epidermis.
Flat warts, which are fl at-topped, are most common on the face and the backs of the hands.
Plantar warts occur on the soles of the feet, most commonly in older children and adolescents.
Soft warts, consisting of little tags of skin, are found especially upon the neck, chest, ears or eyelids of people whose skin has been subjected for a long time to some irritation.
Genital warts occur in the genital area.
A 14-year-old boy was brought to see me by his father, one of the doctors who had attended my acupuncture course, where we talked about the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for warts. The patient had extremely large warts covering his entire palms and soles. They resembled large vesicles rather than solid forms, extending over the sides of the palms and soles. He was very self-conscious about these, and sat on his hands and hid his feet.
We decided that he had excessive dampness on the skin, and also in the Spleen -as both the hands and feet were affected, and the Spleen was responsible for the peripheral circulation of body fl uid. We used Sp 9, St 40 and UB 20 to improve the dampness in the Spleen, and applied ginger moxa to the hands and feet. On his hands he had thin slices of ginger smoking with moxa wool, and on the feet we rubbed the skin with fresh ginger and then warmed the area with a moxa cigar.
The father was tasked with continuing this treatment but, like all doctors, was too busy to carry out the treatment as frequently as he should. The boy received only one treatment every 2 weeks when he should have had at least two treatments a week.
Despite this, his skin cleared completely within a few weeks, and when I saw him after
6 months he was totally cured.
Warts – traditional Chinese medicine view
● A stagnation of damp on meridian if it is in a small area (e.g. dorsum of hand).
● Damp stagnation in Lung if they are extensive.
● Local needles around wart or hot needle in the wart.
● Local moxa or ginger moxa – tonify yang, sedate yin of meridian.
● Two treatments weekly, 8–12 sessions in total.
Treatment of plantar warts – foot sole is associated with the Kidneys
● UB 58 Luo-connecting point.
● UB 23 Back-Shu point.
● Ginger moxa on sole, over the warts.
● If extensive, sedate Lu 5.
Warts are common among children and adolescents. They occur mostly on the hands and face. They are infectious and can spread easily. All soft and common warts are easy to treat, and it is sufficient to treat small warts only locally. The best local treatment is moxa, and the effect of the moxa may be enhanced by ginger – either thin slices on which the moxa wool is placed and lit to smoke or fresh ginger rubbed on the wart and then a moxa cigar held to the skin. One or two needles placed subcutaneously very close to the wart before moxa is given would also be good. The idea is to increase Blood and Qi flow in the area, so that the stagnation is eliminated. Local treatment should be carried out daily by the patient or a family member.
Usually, the warts will disappear on their own after 8–12 treatments, but this may occur only after treatment is completed.
Special local treatment – fire needle
I learned and witnessed this technique many times during my studies in China. It was done on many cold tumours, thyroid tumours and warts. It seemed to shrink the tumour (but not disappear) within days. But the technique left the patient with blood streaming down the skin (not when treating warts) which was a very unpleasant experience. When you read about the technique, you will understand why I no longer use it on my patients.
Take a metal-handled needle and, wrapping the handle in gauze to protect your hand, hold the tip of the needle (about 1–1.5 cm) in a fire (we used a spirit burner). When the needle is red hot, quickly puncture the wart with the tip and then withdraw the needle immediately. You will hear the skin sizzle. This is done only once for each wart. The wart will gradually dry nand shrink to disappear in the following days.
The example given in the previous box is about treating plantar warts. As the foot sole is mainly associated with the Kidneys, the problem is treated as a damp stagnation of Kidney. The Qi is tonified by K 3, the grandmother point, which tonifies Kidney yang aspect, and UB 23, the Back-Shu point.
UB 58, the Luo-connecting point, is used in order to make the shift – sedate yin and tonify yang simultaneously.
Warts on the dorsum of the hand
If the warts are mainly on the back of the hands, then we could treat the triple warmer meridian. The points we would use are UB 22 (Back-Shu of triple warmer), TW 6 (house element point) and TW 5 (Luo-connecting point).
Warts on the palms
If the warts were mainly on the palm, then we should be treating the Lung meridian, as this flows on the palm. We can use points UB 13 (Back-Shu of Lung), Lu 10 (the grandmother point) and LI 6 (Luo-connecting point).1
If the warts are extensive and cover many meridians, then sedation of Lung yin with point Lu 5, the sedation point, is necessary.
Category: Cosmetic Acupuncture
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