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I would like to share my experience of the treatment of simple breast pain/mastalgia without any other concurrent breast pathologies—the type of pain which is uncomfortable for women even to receive a hug from their spouse.
Over 10 years ago I submitted a small pilot study on the use of acupuncture point HT7 for stress.1 Ever since I have been a keen advocate of the HT7 point, likened to Felix Mann's favourite point LR3. For whatever condition I am treating, adding HT7 in my recipe seems to work well.
While I was working as a clinical assistant at my local breast unit, quite by accident I treated a number of patients with breast pain with a single HT7 point bilaterally. To my surprise, just by doing that single HT7, most patients reported that their breast pain disappeared quickly and instantaneously. I was initially very sceptical and thought it could only be accidental. Through the years I have done more and more, and every time the same thing happened; the breast pain improved in a dramatic fashion.
There are a handful of papers published on the use of acupuncture to treat breast pain. They are all inconclusive and are mostly long-winded—quite unlike the simplicity of just doing the HT7 point which literally takes seconds.
I use a point near to the traditional point of HT7, at the distal wrist skin crease on the radial side to the pisiform bone, and I usually peck the periosteum of the pisiform lightly about five times and then withdraw the needle. I use the smallest diameter needle available to me, usually 0.2×15 mm or thinner. It works with both cyclical and persistent breast pain and usually relieves the breast pain instantly in almost all patients.
Following up the patients on whom I have performed acupuncture in my general practice, they are not cured from their breast pain but they all have significant relief from it so that they no longer need to seek further treatment. I cannot be precise on the total number of patients I have treated over time, but estimate it to be around 60. Twelve of these patients are still currently registered in my practice, and a retrospective review of them showed that 41% achieved total pain relief, 8% achieved 80% relief, 16% achieved 50% relief and the remainder had some useful benefit and do not require further treatment.
This is a strange finding on the use of HT7 and I have no idea how or why it works for breast pain. Maybe it works via the mechanism of heterotopic noxious conditioning stimulation, which is probably not point-specific. This might further add to the old debate of whether or not acupuncture points exist.
Please try and see for yourselves. I hope you might be pleasantly surprised—as I was and still am.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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