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Hi y'all

Having had a two bouts of acupuncture for the treatment of Tennis Elbow with great affect, I would like to perform self-acupuncture to further combat this tedious ailment. I already perform self-acupressure in addition to the maassage of stretching that I perform nearly everyday. However, the relief I get from performing all of this is very short-lived. I would therefore be very grateful for information on the size of needles I should be using, the frequency and length of treatment and any other tips that I should keep in mind when performing acupuncture on myself.


Well first and foremost you shouldn&#39t be treating yourself without proper training (even with it really...). The reason you are getting lackluster results is not understanding the theory and proper application of Chinese Medicine which generally leads to using only local points in the area of pain and not enough systemic points to fully resolve the issue. That is, you may be able to help yourself a little (and you could really hurt yourself with deeper/improper needling), but you will likely not come to a full resolution.

As a fully trained acupuncturist myself I stay away from treating myself except for the most benign of things. For you, proper acupuncture treatment, with tuina and/or cupping to open up the neck and shoulders should lead to a permanent resolution of the tendonitis.


As Chad said, if you do not have proper training, you do not treat yourself. Acupuncture applied with out proper understanding of the classics and theory generally has lackluster results.

In saying this, if you do have proper training, treat yourself! I give myself root treatment and okyu several times a week and there is not problem. THis combined with qi gong practice and zazen keeps me fit and healthy. My teacher Dr. Shudo, encourages one to treat ones self regularly. It is a fine way to sense the Ki and to sharpen your skills...

No training.... you have NO business picking up the needle...period.



What about treating with Richard Tan's "Acupuncture 1, 2, 3" for relieving the pain of tennis elbow? No local points, no system points, just mirroring on the limbs - in this case, the knee. Seems to be an easier & less risky way if one is going to self-treat.


Chad, having taken the things that you have said into consideration, maybe I have been a bit too eager to want to begin sticking needles into myself. However, with the correct training I would not hesitate in treating myself (thank you for the comments rclere).

Tennis elbow has been a real blight on my life. It has affected me both physically and emotionally. Physical prowess that I used to take for granted before just isn&#39t materialisng anymore. As such, I actually feel less of a man and all because of just one inch sqaure of pain on my body. This is where the desperation to want to perform acupuncture on myself comes from.

Chad, you mentioned that opening up the neck and shoulders should resolve this ailment. Coincidentally, I do feel a lot of tension in these areas, yet all the physiotherapist, sports therapists, doctors and acupuncture practitioners have never mentioned this. It is something that I will definately look into further. Will stretching these areas help at all until I can see a professional? Also, having googled cupping therapy, I am intrigued enough to give this a go. Hell, I&#39ve tried everything else it seems!

Many thanks for the advice. Keep it coming


Regardless, Richard Tan or whoever... Taking up the needle is not something to be taken lightly... It has more to do with intent than anything. Even Tan&#39s system is based on some of the Classics. If you are bound and determined then just get some needles and put them where you think necessary and be done with it... OR go see Chad or some other practioner and enjoy the experience of having a professional work on you! Better yet, get into school and become and acupuncturist!!! All the best to you!


You came looking for answers to help in healing yourself. Good for you! I'm sure that the last thing you want to hear is that it can't be done. Maybe acupuncture is not the answer, but there are similar, less-invasive options:
Barrel roller, dermal hammer &/or moxibustion to the mirror points may prove to be effective for you, without the needling. Sometimes just briskly massaging the treating vessel/s can be enough. Research "Acupuncture 1, 2, 3", then try the non-needling techniques. There is nothing unethical or illegal about them that I am aware of - these techniques were taught to me in my Traditional Chinese Herbalist training.
Good luck!


I seemed to have generated a lot of hostility and divided a few people with this subject. Forgive me, it was not my intention to step on anybody&#39s toes or make a mockery of acupuncture through wanting to just stick needles in mysef any which way. As karendarnell said, I just came here looking for answers for help in healing myself.

Thank you all for the help and advice so far. You have given me much to go on. I will try "opening up the neck and shoulders" as I do feel a lot of tension in these areas. I particularly like the idea of a dermal hammer and having seen photos of one I can see how this could work (I feel an itchy/sticky pain under the skin around the problem area where my tennis elbow exists - more clues for you all).

Much to the dismay of some of you, I have also gone ahead and ordered a cupping therapy kit. Surely I can use this on myself with a little knowledge?

Your suggestions and recommendations have been very valuable. Keep up the good work everybody


I don&#39t think there is any "hostility" in anyones response, but there are differing opinions on the matter. Acupuncture (including all the non-needle techniques, particularly moxibustion and cupping), simply put, requires lots of training. The adversion to self-treatment is not simply that it cannot be done, but that as a practitioner you can greatly expand your horizons and generally get better results working with someone else. Particularly with techniques that are near impossible to do to yourself in any useful fashion (i.e. tuina, cupping, etc.). Again, not focusing on local points to properly treat yourself requires lots of deep work in the neck and upper back which is impossible to do to yourself. My recommendation again, particularly as this is important to you, is to go get properly treated so you don&#39t have to deal with this issue coming and going for the rest of your life or getting worse due to lack of proper treatment (or improper treatment).


Very eloquently stated Chad. I started my journey into Oriental Medicine in 1969, when I first started taking martial arts as a young boy... Through that tradition, I had many Chinese teachers who also practiced "the Medicine" as well. This was my introduction to Oriental Medicine... I started my training as an apprentice (before there were schools here), and eventually had to go to school to get my license. I have now been practicing 30 years... The point I want to make is that "THIS" is a long tradition of Study, sweat, patience, and practice. To thoroughly understand the theory and application of the medicine, it also requires one to do work on the self, and refinement of the self... This is what gets lost in "schooling" this medicine to large classes. So, when one wants to needle a few points or apply something else without the proper training and understanding, it flies in the face of this tradition. If I came of hostile, it was not my intent at all, and I apologize for that. However, if you have keen interest in the medicine, why not pursue a path in this way? What is required is practiioners with HEART.... I wish you well on your journey.


Self-acupuncture is analoque of self-medication. The difference between a self-care and a care by means of a practitioner and his instruments is the DIAGNOSIS, often absent in the first case, less or more precise but present in the second case. I think that generally the greatest doctors of west or east medicine begin to succed to care their own diseases.

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