May 15, 1972

Hypnotism and Acupuncture

Author Affiliations

Beverly Hills, Calif

JAMA. 1972;220(7):1012-1013. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200070100022

To the Editor.—  E. Grey Dimond's two superb communications "Medical Care and Education in China" and "Acupuncture" in The Journal (218:1552,1971) afford Western scientists some penetrating insights into Chinese medicine. He, as well as others, have emphasized that the therapeutic rationale for acupuncture "anesthesia" has never been satisfactorily explained. Although reasoning by analogy often can be faulty, I believe that acupuncture is a form of hypnosis. On the basis of the available data and current information as well as my experience of over 40 years with surgical hypnoanesthesia, inferences can be made as to how acupuncture anesthesia works. Study of current surgical reports in China indicate that nearly all patients receive some type of analgesia such as morphine, scopolamine, meperidine hydrochloride (Demerol), and thiopental sodium (Pentothal sodium) preoperatively and during surgery. Some even required novocaine injections into the peritoneal tissues. Such an array of pain-killing drugs singly or in