针刀: How Acupotomy Works

Art of Acupuncture
Feb 2, 2015 · 2 min read

Acupotomy Explained

Acupotomy is a relatively new type of non-invasive acupuncture/ micro surgery using a small needle-scalpel invented by Professor Zhu Hanzhang around 30 years ago in China. It is a slightly thicker and more blunt instrument that gets under the skin and is able to break apart adhesions and muscle knots more effectively than a regular acupuncture needle would.

This technique is used to treat chronic injuries, as well soft tissue disorders and the abnormal bony growths that cause acute pain. Combining techniques from acupuncture and surgery, acupotomy demands an extraordinarily perceptive understanding of human anatomy from its practitioners.

I recently had the honor of watching and learning from Dr. Steven Woo who is at the top of the field of acupotomy. Dr. Woo is a former cardio surgeon who switched to acupotomy and is one of the only four top practitioners in the world approved to pass on this knowledge.

The old school acupotomy practitioners used to go in blindly and break up the knots and adhesions deep into muscle areas but patients would scream and cry for dear life due to the poor technique. Professor Woo has refined this technique over the years and has managed to make it effective with barely any pain felt during treatment.

Professor Steven Woo performing acupotomy on a patient with ankle pain Spring, 2012.

Below is a video of Professor Woo doing his thing featured in the local news slot. It’s all in Chinese but you get the gist of whats going on by watching as you go along. The footage is from a free clinic day he was doing in his hometown when a patient came in with severe herniated disc pain and was able to get pain relief immediately following acupotomy treatment. He sees anywhere from 150–200 patients a day at these events.


Bob Wong is comes from a family background of Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture. When not practicing and teaching, he is usually taking photos of things and making videos.

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