In this Shoptalk, I will be sharing with you some critical advice regarding safety when needling GB 21 and the upper trapezius region generally.

My advice comes from having served as an expert witness on a half-dozen cases in which well-intentioned and experienced acupuncturists, trained according to the current standards of the profession, nevertheless caused pneumothorax injuries–one of them fatal.

What’s an expert witness? A neutral professional who reviews evidence and renders opinions in a court proceeding as to whether the acupuncturists’ care was up to standards of the profession–and if not, whether the substandard practice contributed to injuries, pain and suffering. Reviewing these cases has caused me to question some commonly-taught, widely-practiced, but unsafe techniques, and in my own practice, replace them with needle angles, lengths and depths, as well as screening protocols for risk factors, and other techniques that are much better at preventing pneumothoraxes, and yet just as clinically effective–if not more.

Unfortunately, it’s not just dry needlers who cause pneumothoraxes, but they are avoidable. Tune in to learn more!

Here's a short video preventing pneumothorax.


Anthony Von der Muhll, L.Ac
I am an experienced clinician and instructor in acupuncture orthopedics and sports medicine. I enjoy providing long-term support for acupuncturists to achieve their professional goals.

I earned my MTCM from the Five Branches University in 2002, my Diplomate from the National Board of Acupuncture Orthopedics in 2006, and my Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences in 2020.

I have served as a clinical supervisor for 18 years and taught acupuncture orthopedics at the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences, the American College of TCM, the Five Branches University, and the Virginia University of Integrative Medicine. I have been a featured instructor at the Sports Acupuncture Alliance, the PSOAS Symposium, and Associations of California, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina.

I also have extensive experience as an expert witness in malpractice cases, and emphasize the highest standards of safety and ethics.


Anthony's online courses pertinent to this topic:
Treating the Head, Neck and Thorax

Professional Ethics and Risk Management