Critical Comment on the Rogers and Skarda Review of Renzhong-GV26

by Jan Still

I would like to congratulate the authors on their literature research covering a broad spectrum of medical and veterinary textbooks, journals and proceedings of congresses. Nevertheless, I would also like to challenge some of their conclusions concerning the validity of the claimed therapeutical success of the GV26.

The paper gives an overall impression that the clinical efficacy of acupuncture stimulation at GV26 is well established in numerous clinical conditions. This could be argued. In several studies, GV26 was used together with a number of other acupuncture points, or acupuncture was combined with herbs and drugs. How then can one be sure that the use of GV26 in the complex management of post-partum shock in women or sore back in humans was the essential factor in the given formula?

Many anecdotal reports are quoted where the point was used under poorly described clinical circumstances, often lacking essential details on diagnosis and management. Even well documented case reports cannot be considered to be a solid base for general claims on clinical efficacy. This would be true especially in the emergency medicine of life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular arrest and coma.

One should not forget that numerous clinical terms have different meanings, depending on the context. This can be well demonstrated by the concept of shock which has an essentially different meaning in TCM texts as compared to modern medicine. Consequently, because of the paradigm shift, uncritical pooling of data from both resources can lead to inappropriate conclusions.

Pooling of data from different species and different experimental models can be also misleading. This can be demonstrated by a comparison of studies of Dill et al (1988) and numerous papers of Lee et al on circulatory effects of GV26 in anaesthetised horses and dogs respectively.

I hope that these comments will help readers to better integrate the valuable data accumulated by the authors.

See also: "Emergency Acupoint Renzhong (Jenchung, GV26): A Bibliography and Review from Textbook Sources" by Phil Rogers MRCVS and Roman Skarda DVM, PhD