Algodystrophy treated with needle-free electroacupuncture and raw Chinese herbal decoction: a case report and review of literature

J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Oct;15(10):1131-4. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0121.


Background: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is a serious and potentially disabling condition and is a very complex syndrome, which consists of pain maintained by the sympathetic nervous system. There have been no data present demonstrating that this condition can be treated with electroacupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine effectively.

Objective: The objective of this study was to present a case treated by electroacupuncture and Chinese herbal decoction successfully. Patient data: A young Australian woman, who presented with the symptoms of severe swollen left foot, foot pain, swollen ankle and ankle pain, and lower-extremity RSDs, was the subject of the treatment.

Method: A needle-free electroacupuncture method was applied to the affected meridian region. An individually designed Chinese herbal decoction was used for a coordinated approach.

Results: Noticeable progress occurred within 2 weeks of the treatment, and 1.5-2 months later, the patient could walk without crutches. A full recovery occurred after a further 2 weeks.

Outcome measurement: The outcome measurement was change in pain score and swollen status (severity of swollenness), as well as function restoration.

Conclusions: There are no published articles showing the efficiency and safety of this needle-free acupuncture and herbal medicine treatment regimen. Therefore, an accumulation of similar clinical cases or further research is needed to evaluate this particular treatment method.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Ankle
  • Australia
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Edema / therapy
  • Electroacupuncture*
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Humans
  • Magnoliopsida*
  • Needles
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain Management
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / drug therapy*
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal