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For thousands of years classic Chinese acupuncture treatment has been used to treat pain. Since its development in the 1800s myofascial trigger-point therapy has been used in the western world for pain treatment.

A recent May Clinic study surprises practitioners of both systems that they are fundamentally similar despite the differences in approach to treat pain.

Peter Dorsher, MD, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, found in a recent study that at least 92% of common trigger points anatomically correspond with acupoints; that those used to treat pain corresponded more than 95% of the time.

Dorsher points out that myofascial pain treatment was a rediscovery of a system discovered 2,000 years before by the Chinese. Myofascial trigger-point therapy has 255 regions described by the Trigger Point Manual, whereas classic Chinese acupuncture has 361 acupoints that target specific organs or pain problems.

The study was funded by the Mayo Clinic.