Sinclair May, with father Jason, gives the thumbs up yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Tongue acupuncture is having a remarkable effect on a Dunedin
Since travelling to Hong Kong in August for the treatment,
Sinclair May has become more alert, enunciates his words more
clearly and has greater comprehension, his father Jason said.
''His teacher says it's like someone has flicked a switch.
Before, you would have to ask him something five times. Now,
it's just once and he'll understand.''
Mr May and his wife were pleased they had tried the
unconventional treatment and hoped it would help others with
a variety of different ailments.
Sinclair had an undiagnosed chromosome defect resulting in
He struggled to speak and could not voice full sentences.
The St Francis Xavier School pupil was the first New
Zealander to be treated by Prof Sun Jie Gung at the Hong Kong
International Tongue Acupuncture Research Clinic.
Prof Sun trained as a doctor in Western medicine before
studying traditional Chinese medicine, and developed tongue
acupuncture in the 1980s, finding more than 40 acupuncture
points on the tongue.
It has since been used for neurological, cardiovascular, and
Mr May said Sinclair had three short sessions of acupuncture
six days a week during the five and a-half weeks they were in
Hong Kong - 92 sessions in total.
Mr May volunteered to have an acupuncture session first, to
reassure Sinclair and to feel for himself what his son would
be going through.
''It's not painful, it's a tingling feeling. Sinclair was
great, he didn't cry and he took to everything over there
like a duck to water.''
Mr May felt the trip was worthwhile.
Including treatment, it cost about $15,000, and many people
helped generate money for the trip through fundraising.
''We are really happy with the outcome. A lot more sounds are
coming out, he's not babbling, his word use is clearer and
he's more alert and switched on in general.''
Sinclair now slept through the night, whereas before the
acupuncture he would wake at least once.
He was also now using signals to indicate he needed the
Mr May said they were small, subtle changes but they made a
Sinclair was expected to make further progress over the
coming months and years.
''Prof Sun said things would slowly start to unravel as the
brain responded to the acupuncture. He said to touch base
again when Sinclair was 10 years old, because a lot will
happen between now and then.''