BEIJING, July 25 (Xinhua) -- A total of 18 medical protocols for acupuncture and moxibustion were issued Friday to make the centuries-old traditional therapies align with modern medicine.
The National Technical Committee on Acupuncture and Moxibustion Standardization Administration of China and China Association of Acupuncture-Moxibustion (CAAM) issued the protocols.
The protocols address different aspects of the therapies, such as the use of acupuncture needles, how to treat asthma with acupuncture therapy and the dictionary of medical terms used in acupuncture and moxibustion therapies.
China has so far issued 41 medical protocols related to acupuncture and moxibustion.
All the protocols have been instructions rather than compulsory rules due to the nature of these two ancient treatments, said Liu Baoyan, CAAM president.
Acupuncture treats patients by manipulating thin and solid needles that are inserted into acupuncture points in the skin. Moxibustion is the practice of burning the mugwort herb against the skin.
Practiced by Chinese since 400 BC, acupuncture and moxibustion have been effective treatments for various conditions such as headache, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke.
As with many old medicines, the knowledge and skills for acupuncture and moxibustion have traditionally been passed from masters to their apprentices. Abilities vary from practitioner to practitioner and do not meet the scientific requirements of modern medicine.
Lack of uniform protocols is one of the biggest barriers to incorporating acupuncture and moxibustion, whose effects have been proved by practice, into modern medicine and introducing the treatments to people in other countries, Liu said.
There will also be safety concerns if practitioners apply different protocols, Liu added.
The health department and CAAM have been trying to unify protocols among different schools of acupuncture and moxibustion treatments without compromising their flexibility, he said.
In 2010, UNESCO listed acupuncture and moxibustion as an intangible cultural heritage.
The World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Society has issued four international protocols on acupuncture and moxibustion and the International Standardization Organization (ISO) has issued a standard for acupuncture needles, including their texture, diameter, length, and flexibility.