Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture for Acute Compartment Syndrome

Posted by on Feb 27, 2014

Interesting article¬†today in Scientific American on acute compartment syndrome, a potentially devastating injury that can even lead to amputation of a limb, and that also gives a glimpse into the role of the fascia in organizing the tissues of the body. Releasing the fascia is a big part of what myo-fascial acupuncture does. And when i treat people with soft tissue pain involving restrictions of the circulation, such as in Raynaud’s disease, but even just if their hands and or feet are cold to the touch or reported as cold, I almost always use a Chinese medicine herbal formula called Dang Gui Si Ni Tang, or Dang Gui Frigid Extremities decoction. It works like a charm in cases of Thoracic outlet syndrome, Brachial plexus and other nerve impingement syndromes, along with acupuncture treatment to release the fascia and release the nerve impingement.

I have not yet treated acute compartment syndrome, but reading about it, I know what I would probably do if had the chance–very very careful Classical Chinese or Japanes acupuncture, moxabustion, and high doses of Dang Gui Si Ni Tang. Dose is a function of severity of the disorder and size of the patient. In a case like that, a large dose might save a limb, in conjunction with conservative biomed treatment.



  1. Hey Eyton,

    Can you post the link to the study for this? I’m an Integrative MD looking for solutions for a patient w/ chronic compartment syndrome. I LOVE LOVE LOVE acupuncture for fascial release, but fear aggravating her problem.


    • Hi A,

      I too, would be very careful. The acupuncture treatment for chronic compartment syndrome would be different than for myofascial pain. It would need to be very very gentle light needling in the beginning, not like the deep needling of fascial release….but what i would really seek out is an experienced Chinese medicine herbalist–someone with at least 10 years experience, who could evaluate the pattern causing the problem. Dont think of it as a modality, but as as different system of medical thinking with its own way of evaluating and diagnosing. Esp in knotty cases like that…

      All the best,


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