Manaka Ion Pumping Cords Effective for Burns and Whiplash
By Brette Luck, LAc
Manaka ion pumping cords are commonly used in Japanese-style acupuncture practices. Many Chinese-style acupuncturists do not know about the simple and very effective treatments using these cords. Particularly, the burn and whiplash treatments have quick and substantial results.
I was fortunate to observe an acupuncturist do both the burn and whiplash treatments during my extensive assisting hours required for my Masters in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Although I did not go on to study Japanese-style acupuncture, I have incorporated the ion pumping cords in my practice. Recently, I used both the burn and whiplash treatments, with remarkable results. I hope that in sharing the treatment protocols and my recent cases, other Chinese-style acupuncturists will use these treatments and share their experiences.
Manaka ion pumping cords are a simple setup of a copper wire with a black clip on one side, a red on the other, and a diode in the middle. Although they are called ion pumping cords, the physical properties of a wire do not allow atoms or molecules to move along them. However, electrons can flow along the wire, effectively lowering the number of ions in one area and raising them in another. Although the cords move electrons, the total number electrons moving is so low that it would be practically impossible to measure. This makes using the cords completely safe.
Dr. Yoshio Manaka, a renowned Japanese acupuncturist, initially developed the ion pumping cords for treating burns. He theorized that excess ions prevent the skin from healing. Typically cell membranes keep some charged atoms in the cell and others out. A burn destroys these boundaries, leaving all types of ions everywhere. Manaka thought removing some of these ions would allow the cells to heal more quickly.
The burn treatment is as follows: put foil over the burn, connect the black clip to the foil and the red clip to a needle in a distal acupuncture point. Leaving this set up for 20 minutes can reduce the inflammation and pain of a burn and speed its overall healing. The book Hara Diagnosis, Reflections on the Sea by Kiiko Matsumoto and Stephen Birch gives more detail on how to choose the distal point according to a Japanese-style treatment. In my experience, choosing a distal point on the same channel is effective. The burn treatment can be used on burns from any source including heat, radiation and friction (aka road rash).
I recently treated a patient with severe road rash from a bicycle accident. He had large areas of broken skin on his torso and left elbow and a smaller wound near his left wrist. I did burn treatments one week and two weeks after his accident. Immediately after each treatment the area looked less inflamed. The areas continued to heal quickly and four weeks after the accident the torso and elbow wounds had shrunk to half of their original size. However, the wound on his wrist, which I initially didn't consider treating, looked almost the same four weeks after the accident as it did one week after the accident.
Seeing the significant results on burns, Manaka experimented with the cords, creating numerous treatment protocols including ones for tinnitus, rhinitis, muscles spasms, asthma, and headaches. He found that the cords have a strong effect on the extraordinary vessels. His most well known extraordinary vessel treatment is for whiplash. The whiplash treatment uses the yang qiao mai and the yang wei mai, which go through the neck.
To do the whiplash treatment, first needle the master and coupled points for the yang qiao mai (BL 62 and SI 3) and for the yang wei mai (TW 5 and GB 41) bilaterally. Then, attach a black clip to the needle in BL 62. Attach the red clip of the same cord to SI 3 on the same side. Then, attach a black clip of a different cord to TW 5. Attach the red clip of that same cord to GB 41 on the same side. Repeat for the other side, using a total of four ion pumping cords.
When I recently used this treatment, I only had two ion pumping cords. I used the yang wei mai on my patient's right side and yang qiao mai on her left side. I chose those sides because the patient felt GB 41 and TW 5 strongly on her right, but not on her left. She didn't have a strong reaction to SI 3 or BL 62 on either side.
This patient came in for a treatment the day after she was in a car accident. Her neck had a limited range of motion and was painful even without movement. After the treatment, she had a noticeable range of motion increase and a 50 percent reduction in pain. She reported at her next appointment that she continued to feel better after the treatment, with no pain and a full range of motion in her neck the following day.
These two cases are representative of my experience using Manaka's burn and whiplash treatments. Although I never hope to have a patient with a burn or with whiplash, I am always excited to use these treatments, because they are so effective. I do hope that other Chinese-style acupuncturists try these treatments and educate their patients about acupuncture for burns and whiplash. Then, more people will benefit from such treatments.
Brette Luck practices acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in Arlington Massachusetts. She has a background in electrical engineering and clinical research which provide her insights into her treatments. She can be reached at