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I'm wondering about the effects of surgery on the flow and strength of meridians.Especially surgery that takes out sections of skin as in tummy tuck surgery which runs across gallbladder, stomach ,kidney, spleen,liver and central.Has anyone had experience with this matter?


Hello Kate,

This type of question comes up often, particularly related to the effects of piercings. The general consensus is that the effect on the body is minimal and that the energy of the meridians adjust to the area of physical trauma whether it be surgery, piercings, etc.


In my experience, surgery can have a significant effect, particularly if the person has more scar tissue than normal. Some people have thicker and more dense scars than others, and those scars, especially when they cross meridians, can disrupt the energy flow. Many times I have found that treating the scar area can clear up symptoms further down the meridian.


Someone I know had c-section which left a scar that runs down along the Ren meridian. From time to time I help her with issues by using acupressure with finger but can't use the Ren 4 and 6 tonifying points because the scar tissue is too tick and when trying to press down on these points, rather nearly the entire scar presses down.

Since I am only a student I don't yet do needling but I wonder how a thicker scar tissue as such effects the needling sensation? I can certainly feel the scar tissues are dead which makes me believe that it also affects the needling sensations, therefore the therapeutic effects as well.


How does energy flow in a removed organ (spleen)?

Many people like to talk about "energy disruptions" and the like within this field and it is appropriate to a degree. And, as I stated earlier, this discussion of scarring comes up often. Generally, people will say they interpret the scar as a disruption, yet, clinically and scientifically this is only valid if someone actually develops symptoms related to the meridians/areas that are scarred that can be linked to the scar itself and not the procedure done within. After seeing many patients and a very broad range of cases, I've yet to see someone with a condition that started as the result of a scar. A condition as the result of a surgery is another matter, but from a scar, no.

Acupuncture is much more than just the flow of energy through the meridians and an interpreted disruption in the flow is only part of what leads to health problems. In reality, we know that needling has many more effects than on the meridians alone - there are changes in brain chemistry, hormone production, releases of various proteins, etc. and most of these, based on clinical research, are responses from single points (i.e. not related to manipulating and entire meridian).

Will dense skin effect needling sensation, yes. But does needling sensation, or level of, actually effect clinical success in treatments? Well when you compare something like Japanese acupuncture and standard TCM you would have to conclude probably not. Might you choose different points to use, etc. because of a scar? Yes, of course, but the fact remains that you will not see a condition - be it physical, psychological, etc. - develop purely from a scar. Intrinsically, then, it is somewhat of a null argument.

All that said, you can (and should) help the scar heal with acupuncture and there are many methods. One I use frequently is the "turtle" method as described within my Japanese acupuncture section on using moxa to treat qi/blood stagnation as it appears in masses, scars, etc. - here.


Cool, thanks for the answer. I was mainly interested if needling is not affected by the scar, in other words if the results are the same (or nearly the same) regardless of going through the scar or not. Like I mentioned I don't yet use needles but the scar tissue does make it difficult to use acupressure treatment.

Again, thank you for the answer.


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