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Medical Acupuncture

Editor-in-Chief: Richard C. Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH

ISSN: 1933-6586 • Published Bimonthly • Online ISSN: 1933-6594

Current Volume: 26

For Authors

  • Manuscript Submissions
  • NIH/HHMI Wellcome Trust Policies
  • Self-Archiving Policy
  • Open Access Policy
  • Manuscript Submissions

    Medical Acupuncture is a journal with an international scope, focusing on the evolving specialty of medical acupuncture. The editor welcomes articles on all aspects of medical acupuncture, including research, education, clinical practice, technology, policy, ethics, law, schools of thought, history, and related disciplines.

    All material submitted should conform to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, as formulated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. These requirements appear in their entirety (updated October 2007) online at www.icmje.org/index.html  Note the requirement for the registration of clinical trials.

    Please adhere to the new STRICTA 2010 (Standards for Reporting Interventions in Controlled Trials of Acupuncture), requirements available online at www.stricta.info/


    All persons designated as authors must qualify for authorship. Criteria include substantial contributions to the following: (a) conception, design, and/or analysis and interpretation of data; (b) writing or revising the manuscript for intellectual content; and (c) final approval of the paper for publication. All 3 criteria must be met. Contributors who do not meet these 3 criteria should be listed, with their permission, in an acknowledgement paragraph.

    The order of the author byline should be reached by consensus of the co-authors. All authors should be listed by full name, one major degree, and affiliations along with other pertinent information.

    Biographical and contact information (including address, phone and fax numbers, email address) for all authors must be provided.

    Once material is published in the Journal, it becomes the copyrighted property of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Permission must be obtained from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. to publish in other medical journals.


    The corresponding author is responsible for communicating with coauthors to make sure they have completed the online copyright form. Authors not permitted to release copyright must still return the form acknowledging the statement of the reason for not releasing the copyright.


    It is incumbent upon the submitting author to ensure the accuracy and inclusion of all contributing authors’ names and affiliations upon original submission of the paper. Once a paper is accepted for publication, changes in authorship – including the page proof stage – are NOT permitted. Changes in authorship after publication are strictly prohibited.

    Financial Disclosure

    All affiliations with, or financial involvement in, any entity with a financial interest in, or in competition with the article’s subject matter must be disclosed. This includes stock ownership, employment, consultancies, honoraria, grants, patents, and royalties.


    Redundant or Duplicate Publication.  Medical Acupuncture does not publish articles that have been submitted or published elsewhere.


    Informed Consent, Study Ethics Approval, and Subject Confidentiality

    When articles include reports of studies on human subjects, state in the Methods section that an appropriate review board or ethics committee approved the study. Authors who do not have formal ethics review committees should follow the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. In the Methods section, state that informed consent was obtained from subjects (specify oral or written).

    In addition, text, photographs, and pedigrees should not reveal identifying information unless it is essential for scientific purposes (in which case, consent should be obtained). Masking the subjects’ eyes in photographs is often insufficient to protect their identity.

    Animals. The principal author must state that if animals were used experimentally, permission was obtained from the appropriate committee(s), and that the animals were treated humanely and conformed to the standards of current ethical animal research practices.


    All new manuscripts must be submitted online at: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/acupuncture. Please read ALL “the Instructions for Authors” before submitting; all papers must also adhere to the new STRICTA 2010 requirements (available online: http://www.stricta.info/

    Please upload individual files of all manuscript materials—do NOT upload a single PDF file containing all text, figure, and table files of your article. Once all individual files are uploaded onto Manuscript Central, the system will automatically create a single PDF proof for you, and the peer-review process.

    Note: when uploading your figures and tables, please label them with the journal acronym, ACU, and the year, plus your last name and the figure number. Example: ACU.2008.Smith.Fig1. 


    • A title page which includes the title of the article, as well as ALL authors’ names, affiliations, email addresses, and contact information.
    • An abstract (uploading your abstract into the appropriate field in Manuscript Central will NOT automatically incorporate it into the text file, so please include the abstract within the manuscript file).
    • References section correctly formatted (see examples).
    • Tables and figures should be uploaded as individual files.
    • Do NOT upload a PDF of your text file. 


    Title Page

    Note that the new STRICTA 2010 requirements require that you identify the type of trial: that is Acupuncture for hiccups in the elderly adult: a randomized trial; Acupuncture used to stop smoking: an observational trial. The title page should include the full article title, names and affiliations of all authors, and corresponding biographical information for all authors, including mailing address, fax and telephone numbers, and email addresses. (Example John K. Jones, MD [Main credential only])


    For original research, reviews, and meta-analyses, provide a structured abstract of no more than 250 words. Include information as applicable for the following headings: Background, Objective, Design, Setting, Patients (or Subjects), Intervention, Main Outcome Measures, Results, Conclusions, Randomizations (If applicable, elaborate), Blinding (Investigators and Subjects), Conclusions, Registration and Funding. For all other major manuscripts, include an unstructured abstract of no more than 250 words that summarizes the objective, main points, and conclusions of the article.

    Key Words

    Underneath the abstract, provide 3–10 key words (preferably Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms) that will assist indexers and researchers using electronic databases such as MEDLINE


    Introduction. Note Table 2/2ab new STRICTA 2010 (http:// www.stricta.info/) Provide a brief background for the article, including the rationale and hypothese for the study or observation. Do not present data from the current work.

    Methods. The following should be taken into account:

    1. Provide rationale for treatment, and style of acupuncture used.

    2. Supply needling details: unilateral/bilateral points employed.

    3. Number of needles inserted; needle type (gauge, length, manufacturer [include city, state, and country]); insertion depth; responses elicited (Qi); and whether twirled counterclockwise or clockwise.

    4. Electrostimulator device (type, model, manufacturer [include city, state, and country]); time; stimulation frequency; which leads are designated negative and positive and where placed.

    5. State treatment regimen: number of treatments, frequency (treatments per week, etc.); interventions employed such as moxibustion, cupping, herbs, etc.; treatment duration; environment: music, lighting, aromatics, etc.

    Describe the selection of subjects, including demographics and study design. Describe the location and dates of the study. Identify the procedures in sufficient detail so others may replicate the results. Provide references to established methods and new techniques; provide the rationale for their use and also describe their limitations. Authors submitting review articles should describe the methods used to locate, select, extract, and synthesize data.

    The principal author must state that verbal or written consent was obtained from the patient(s) when appropriate. The principal author must state whether a human research committee granted approval for treating and obtaining data or employing protocols that involved human subjects.

    Statistics. As necessary, describe statistical methods and provide appropriate indicators of error or uncertainty (e.g., 95% confidence intervals). Specify any statistical software used.

    Your article must follow as appropriate the sequence below which is the new STRICTA 2010 requirements.


    The italicized 1–6 below is information that must appear in the METHODOLOGY. This is found in Table 1 of the new STRICTA 2010.

    1. Acupuncture rationale 1abc as appropriate
    2. Details of needling 2(a) to 2(g)
    3. Treatment regimen 3ab
    4. Other components of treatment 4ab
    5. Practitioner Background 5
    6. Control or Comparator interventions 6ab

    Use the new STRICTA 2010 Table 2 to complete the METHODOLOGY section:

    D. OUTCOMES 6ab
    E. SAMPLE SIZE 7ab

    Use the new STRICTA 2010 Table 2 to complete the RANDOMIZATION section:


    A. Sequence generation 8ab
    B. Allocation Concealment 9
    C. Implementation 10
    D. Blinding 11ab
    E. Statistical methods 12ab

    Results. Present results in a logical sequence. Do not duplicate data in the text and tables/figures.

    Use the new STRICTA 2010 Table 2 to complete the RESULTS section.


    A. Participant flow 13ab
    B. Implementation
         Recruitment 14ab
         Baseline data 15
         Numbers analyzed 16
         Outcomes and Estimations 17ab
         Ancillary Analyses 18
         Harms 19


    Discussion. The discussion section should summarize the results and their implications. This section should also discuss the rationale of acupoints used such as mechanisms of action; clinical implications and usefulness; and benefit to the patient.


    Conclusion(s).  Summarize the paper’s findings and their importance.  This text may also give rise to questions, discuss ambiguous data, and recommend areas of further research.

    Use the new STRICTA 2010 Table 2 to complete the DISCUSSION and OTHER INFORMATION sections. Note that we require a CONCLUSIONS section.



    A. Limitations 20
    B. Generalizability 21
    C. Interpretation 22



    A. Registration 23
    B. Protocol 24
    C. Funding 25

    Many of the articles in our journal are singular case reports. In achieving publications of these articles it is obvious that some components of STRICTA may not be applicable. Nevertheless we need to strive and maintain the quality of this journal. We urge you to plan your articles carefully and remember a single case is interesting, but not conclusive and subjected to much scrutiny especially by the Editor-in-Chief and the reviewers.


    Nomenclature and Abbreviations

    Authors must conform to the standard nomenclature for medical acupuncture, listed at the end of these instructions. As a general rule, use only these abbreviations and those easily recognizable in the literature. The full term should appear at first mention, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. Standard units of measure are acceptable to abbreviate without expansion. When discussing particular products, it is preferable to use the nonproprietary (generic) name or descriptive term throughout. If desired, the brand name can be included parenthetically at first mention.



    At the end of the article, include a paragraph, when appropriate, acknowledging support for the work. It can include contributions that do not justify authorship, technical support, and financial and technical help. This is also an appropriate place to mention previous presentations (e.g., as an abstract or poster at a meeting).

    Author Disclosure Statement

    Immediately following the Acknowledgments section, include a section entitled “Author Disclosure Statement.” This text must be part of your actual manuscript file
    . In this portion of the article, authors must disclose any commercial associations that might create a conflict of interest in connection with submitted manuscripts. This statement should include appropriate information for EACH author, thereby representing that competing financial interests of all authors have been appropriately disclosed according to the policy of the Journal. It is important that all conflicts of interest, whether they are actual or potential, be disclosed. This information will remain confidential while the article is being reviewed and will not influence the editorial decision. Please see the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals at www.icmje.org/index.htlm#conflicts for further guidance. If no conflicts exist, the authors must state “No competing financial interests exist.”

    Cite references within the text using superscript Arabic numbers (e.g., “as previously described.”1,4) List references in text in numerical order. Do not use “ibid,” but instead repeat the number of the citation. The reference list at the end of the article should be double-spaced and organized by Arabic numbers. Use journal abbreviations as provided by MEDLINE.® List all authors up to 6 authors. If there are more than 6 authors, list 3 and then et al. If references to personal communications or unpublished data are used, they are not to be included in the list of references. They should be referred to in the text in parentheses, including date. Include, among the references, articles accepted but not yet published; provide the journal, title, and the designation “In press.” If it is necessary to cite an abstract, this should be so designated. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of the references, and are reminded that inaccurate and dishonest references are highly frustrating to the reader, the cited author, and indexing services. Please follow the samples below. Translate titles of articles into English and place the original language in brackets.

    Sample References: Journal article: Jobst KA. Acupuncture in asthma and pulmonary disease: an analysis of efficacy and safety. J Altern Complement Med. 1996;2(6):179–206.

    Book: Ersser SJ. Nursing as a Therapeutic Activity: An Ethnography. Avebury, UK: Aldershot; 1997:371.

    Edited book: Fulford KWM, Ersser SJ, Hope T, eds. Essential Practice in Patient-Centered Care. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science; 1996.

    Chapter in a book: Van Wijk R, Wiegant FA. Physiological effects of homeopathic medicines in closed vials: a critical evaluation. In: Endler PC, Schulte J, eds. Ultra High Dilution Physiology and Physics. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers; 1994:81–98.
    Abstract: van der Hamm IJ, Raemaekers M, van Wezel RJ, et al. Categorical and coordinate spatial relations in working memory: an fMRI study [abstract]. Brain Res. July 2009. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2009.07.088.
    Website: Include name of website, and URL, starting with www. Include month, day, and year accessed.

    A minimum of 3 references is required. References should be numbered consecutively in the text; do not alphabetize the reference list, but present citations in numerical order to correspond with mention in the text. References cited only in tables or figures should be numbered in accordance with the order established by the first mention of that table or figure in the text.

    Avoid citing “personal communications” unless they provide essential information; do not list them in the references but place them parenthetically in the text. Authors should obtain permission from the source of such communications and indicate the date they occurred and whether the communication was oral or written. Also include the first name, surname, and degree of the source.


    Do NOT include tables or figures within your text file. All tables should be prepared in one collective file, preferably with one table to a page. Upload single file containing all tables to Manuscript Central as "Table(s)" under file designation. Number tables consecutively in the text as they appear. Provide a title for each table, as well as column headings. Be sure to cite all table(s) in text. Provide footnotes for explanatory material, using the following symbols in sequence: * † ‡ § ||  #. Identify statistical measures, such as mean (SD). Data from other sources require permission and a statement of such in a table footnote. The use of too many tables in relation to length of text may cause problems for journal page layout. Avoid duplicating data in text and tables/figures, with the exception of main outcomes.

    Do NOT embed figures in the text file. Letters, numbers, and symbols should be clear and of sufficient size when printed in the Journal.  If pictures of patients are used, either the subjects must be completely unidentifiable or written informed consent must be obtained and submitted.

    Electronic submission of figures is permitted with the following caveats:


    • Do NOT include any illustrations as part of your text file.
    • Do NOT prepare any figures in Word as they are not usable.
    • Line illustrations must be submitted at 600 dots per inch (dpi).
    • Halftones and color photos should be submitted at a minimum of 300 dpi.
    • Do not submit PowerPoint files.
    • Save art as either .tiff or .jpg files. Avoid submitting .jpeg files.

    • Color art must be saved as CYMK, not as RGB.

    • Name figure files using only alphanumeric characters.  Do not use symbols, dots, or dashes.
    • File names should be formatted with first author’s last name and the figure number. (Ex:  SmithFig1)

    Figures reprinted from other sources should be acknowledged in the legend, and permission must be granted. The legend should be submitted as part of the text and not typed on the actual figure. Clearly identify all symbols and abbreviations, and explain scales if necessary. Any other explanatory information should be given in the legend.


    Submission and Editing Process

    All submissions must be in English. Appropriate use of the English language is a requirement for review and publication in Medical Acupuncture.  For authors whose native language is not English, we suggest using a service that can aid in the translation and rewriting of material into correct and proper English usage.  The Publisher offers this service with a subsidy from the author prior to official submission (contact:  AuthorServices@liebertpub.com).  It is important to note that employing the use of the Publisher’s service does not guarantee acceptance of any paper.  All submissions are subject to peer review. The Journal prefers that the article be composed using a 12-point font in Microsoft Word.  All accepted submissions are subject to copyediting.


    Submit all manuscript components ONLINE via Manuscript Central at:http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/acupuncture  The author’s request to withdraw the manuscript after undergoing the editing process will result in possible penalty fees based on editing costs, and possible exclusion from future publishing in Medical Acupuncture.


    Manuscript Review Process

    Each manuscript will be initially reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief for preliminary acceptance or rejection. The manuscript is then forwarded to appropriate experts for review and scored appropriately (peer review). The manuscripts are categorized as fully accepted, accepted pending revisions, or rejected with recommendations for re-submission. After submission, no revisions or new versions will be accepted unless requested by the Editor-in-Chief.


    Reprints may be ordered by following the special instructions that will accompany page proofs, and should be ordered at the time the corresponding author returns the corrected page proofs to the Publisher. Reprints ordered after an issue is printed will be charged at a substantially higher rate.


    The Journal is published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 140 Huguenot Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801. Telephone: (914) 7402100; Fax: (914) 740-2101; Email: info@liebertpub.com; Website: www.liebertpub.com


    READERS: The standard nomenclature was revised May 2002.

    The following names and abbreviations are to be used in Medical Acupuncture. Recent changes in nomenclature have been adopted by the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA) and are to be used in all articles submitted to the Journal. Please pay strict attention to these changes. For the most part, this is the system endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Common English anatomical, physiological, and pathological terms are capitalized to indicate their Chinese medical meanings, for example, Lung, Blood, Heat Deficiency, etc. The Alphabetic Code was agreed on by participants and observers at a meeting of the WHO Scientific Group held in 1989.


    Name of Meridian            Alphabetic Code

    Principal Meridians

    Lung Meridian                               LU
    Large Intestine Meridian             LI
    Stomach Meridian                        ST
    Spleen Meridian                           SP
    Heart Meridian                              HT
    Small Intestine Meridian             SI
    Bladder Meridian                          BL
    Kidney Meridian                            KI
    Pericardium Meridian                  PC  
    Triple Energizer Meridian           TE
    Gallbladder Meridian                  GB
    Liver Meridian                               LR
    Governor Vessel (Dumai)          GV
    Conception Vessel (Renmai)   CV

    Extra Meridians

    GV                         Dumai                        Governor Vessel
    CV                         Renmai                      Conception Vessel
    TV                         Chongmai                  Thoroughfare Vessel
    BV                         Daimai                        Belt Vessel
    YinHV                   Yinqiaomi                   Yin Heel Vessel
    YangHV               Yangqiaomai             Yang Heel Vessel
    YinLV                    Yinweima                   Yin Link Vesseli
    YangLV                Yangweimai               Yang Link Vessel 



    Fu                                                   Hollow organs
    Zang                                              Solid organs
    Front Mu                                       Collecting points
    Back Shu                                      Transporting points
    Sheng                                           Generating cycle
    Ke                                                  Controlling cycle
    Ah Shi                                           “Ouch” point
    De Qi                                             Arrival of Qi

    Command and Special Points

    Ting                                     Well    
    Ying                                 Spring    
    Shu                                Stream    
    Jing                                   River  
    He                                       Sea  
    Yuan                              Source
    Luo                                Vessel
    Xi                                        Cleft 
    Hui                            Influential

    Energy Levels or Axes

    Tai Yang                        Tai Yin
    Shao Yang                Shao Yin
    Yang Ming                    Jue Yin



  • NIH/HHMI Wellcome Trust Policies

    NIH Public Access Policy: In order to assist our authors who have NIH funding to comply with this policy, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers will deposit the final accepted paper (after copy-editing and proofreading) to PubMed Central (PMC) on behalf of the authors. Authors need not take any action. The manuscript's public access posting on PMC will occur 12 months after final publication. This service is provided free of charge. Please note that authors may not deposit manuscripts directly to PMC or other sites without permission from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

  • Self-Archiving Policy

    Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a "blue" publisher (as defined by Sherpa), as we allow self-archiving of post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing) or publisher's version/PDF.

    In assigning Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. copyright, the author retains the right to deposit such a 'post-print' on their own website, or on their institution's intranet, or within the Institutional Repository of their institution or company of employment, on the following condition, and with the following acknowledgement:

    This is a copy of an article published in the [JOURNAL TITLE] © [year of publication] [copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.]; [JOURNAL TITLE] is available online at: http://online.liebertpub.com.

    Authors may also deposit this version on his/her funder's or funder's designated repository at the funder's request or as a result of a legal obligation, provided it is not made publicly available until 12 months after official publication.

  • Open Access Policy

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    Ensure maximum visibility, discoverability, and impact for your article with our Liebert Open Access (OA) Option.

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    • Complimentary membership in AuthorCite®, the author services platform exclusively licensed by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. that delivers the tools you need to maximize your professional impact.

    These valuable benefits are included with a one-time article processing charge (APC). APC charge varies based on journal, membership, and subsequent submissions.

    Contact openaccess@liebertpub.com for questions on article Open Access options. 

     *Please note that PubMedCentral, not the Publisher, has sole control over when the paper is made live on PMC.


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    For details, and to recommend institutional membership visit: www.authoradvocacy.com or contact laap@liebertpub.com 




The views, opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations set forth in any Journal article are solely those of the authors of those articles and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy or position of the Journal, its Publisher, its editorial staff or any affiliated Societies and should not be attributed to any of them.

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