Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — A 62-year-old woman, who had suffered from allergic rhinitis for 20 years, visited Thủ Đức District Hospital’s traditional medicine ward several years ago, seeking relief after undergoing unsuccessful treatments at other health facilities.
Although she had used antibiotics, decongestants and steroid nasal sprays, her sneezing and runny nose had persisted.
At Thủ Đức Hospital, doctors performed thread embedding, a kind of acupuncture treatment popular in Việt Nam.
After seven treatments every two weeks, the woman’s symptoms began to reduce in intensity.
According to Dr Trần Minh Sơn, head of the ward, the treatment involves the use of short sections of catgut threads inserted into a needle embedded into acupuncture points of a patient’s face and other areas of the body.
He said "the embedded threads act as an allergen stimulating the patient’s body to create an antibody and change the way the immune system responds, leading to a reduction of allergic symptoms or to none at all”.
The procedure helps reduce sores and increases resistance against inflammation in the nose caused by allergens.
“Embedding thread into points also helps improve blood circulation, protein and nutrition,” Sơn said. “According to Oriental medicine, this keeps yin and yang balanced. When these are imbalanced, the body is not healthy.”
Treatment for pain
Dr Nghiêm Hữu Thành, former head of the National Hospital of Acupuncture, said that degenerative spinal conditions, backaches and headaches could be treated with thread embedding.
Embedding thread in acupuncture points stimulates blood circulation at the points and can improve muscle strength, according to Thành.
“It can also be used in conjunction with Western medicine, psychology and behavioural science for autism treatment at the hospital and HCM City Traditional Medical Institute,” he said.
Thread embedding can help autistic children retain what they are taught and ease their anxiety as well, he added.
Nguyễn Thị Lâm Thao, head of the Bình Chánh District Hospital’s traditional medicine ward, said the technique of thread embedding was used in the ward.
“This is a difficult technique which requires professional training and highly qualified doctors,” she said.
Sơn of Thủ Đức District Hospital said that doctors who perform the technique should take into account the possibility of thread allergy and infection occurring during the embedding procedure.
Thành said the hospital’s doctors had provided training to many doctors at general hospitals and traditional medicine institutes in the southern region.
A 45-year-old patient from Phú Nhuận District said she visited HCM City Traditional Medical Institute for successful treatment of a backache.
Thread embedding was first used in the country in 1960.
In 1975, Professor Nguyễn Tài Thu, chairman of Việt Nam National Association of Acupuncture, conducted research and treatment of bronchial asthma with thread embedding.
Fifteen years later, Dr Lê Thúy Oanh was invited as an expert to demonstrate the technique at health facilities in Hungary.
Thành said that more and more patients were visiting traditional medicine institutes for thread embedding because they were interested in medical treatments without drugs.
This interest has led to a higher number of patient visits in the southern region, with a corresponding increase in revenue at traditional medicine institutes.
The HCM City Traditional Medical Institute, for instance, saw an increase in patients and revenue of 200 per cent in 2015 compared to the previous year, Thành said. —VNS