OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine is an international peer-reviewed Open Access journal published quarterly online by LIDSEN Publishing Inc. It covers all evidence-based scientific studies on integrative, alternative and complementary approaches to improving health and wellness.

Topics contain but are not limited to:

  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
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  • Herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy
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It publishes a variety of article types: Original Research, Review, Communication, Opinion, Comment, Conference Report, Technical Note, Book Review, etc.

There is no restriction on paper length, provided that the text is concise and comprehensive. Authors should present their results in as much detail as possible, as reviewers are encouraged to emphasize scientific rigor and reproducibility.

Publication Speed (median values for papers published in 2023): Submission to First Decision: 5.9 weeks; Submission to Acceptance: 14.7 weeks; Acceptance to Publication: 8 days (1-2 days of FREE language polishing included)

Open Access Editorial

Chess and Acupuncture?

Gerhard Litscher *

  1. President of the International Society for Medical Laser Applications (ISLA transcontinental; since 2012), German Vice President of the German-Chinese Research Foundation (DCFG) for TCM (since 2014), Honorary Chairman of the European Federation of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Societies (since 2022), Graz / Austria / Europe

Correspondence: Gerhard Litscher

Collection: Trends in Acupuncture and Laser Research and Education

Received: April 18, 2023 | Accepted: April 19, 2023 | Published: April 19, 2023

OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine 2023, Volume 8, Issue 2, doi:10.21926/obm.icm.2302020

Recommended citation: Litscher G. Chess and Acupuncture?. OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine 2023; 8(2): 020; doi:10.21926/obm.icm.2302020.

© 2023 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is correctly cited.


This editorial briefly describes possible relationships and similarities between chess and acupuncture. Although the methods of chess and acupuncture could not be more different, possible joint effects on the brain can be hypothesized. However, the effectiveness of these joint effects has yet to be proven in scientific studies. Both chess and acupuncture can be used to improve physical and mental well-being. According to the author, the Yintang point could play a key role here.


Chess; acupuncture; Yintang

1. Introduction

Chess and acupuncture have very different concepts but can be linked in specific situations to improve physical and mental well-being.

Chess is a strategic board game that has been played for centuries. Success requires a great deal of focus, planning and patience. Players must keep track of their own and opponent's moves and react quickly to changes. Chess players must also be able to flex their thinking in order to create new strategies and tactics to defeat their opponents [1].

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing technique that uses thin needles to be inserted into specific points on the body to regulate the flow of blood and energy and restore balance to the body. The needles dissolve blockages, stimulate the immune system and promote relaxation [2].

Both chess and acupuncture can look back on centuries-old traditions. Chess has a long history dating back to the 6th century, while acupuncture plays a central role in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and has been practiced for centuries [1,2,3].

2. Methods

Although chess and acupuncture do not seem to have much in common at first glance, they can help improve cognitive skills and well-being. Studies have shown that chess players exhibit greater mental flexibility and creativity than non-players [4]. They also have a better memory and can make decisions faster.

Acupuncture has proven to effectively treat pain, depression, anxiety, and other disorders. The needles relieve tension and relieve stress, leading to an overall improvement in well-being (Figure 1) [2].

Click to view original image

Figure 1 Chess and ancient acupuncture needles (© G. Litscher).

3. Possible Results and Discussion

The acupoint Yintang (EX-HN 3) is between the eyebrows [5,6,7]. It is known to have a mentally stabilizing effect in TCM [8,9]. In a systematic review of the effects of acupressure on anxiety, acupuncture and acupressure showed promising results for anxiety relief. EX-HN 3 was one of the most commonly used acupoints [8,9]. Yintang is used to improve mental clarity, concentration and cognitive function, soothe emotions and relieve stress, anxiety and agitation [5,6,7,8,9].

When combined, chess and acupuncture may have a synergistic effect that yields even better results (Figure 1). Players who regularly play chess and receive acupuncture treatments can improve their focus and cognitive flexibility while lowering their stress levels. This maybe can result in better overall chess performance and an improvement in overall well-being. However, scientific studies on this topic are still missing.

4. Conclusions

Chess and acupuncture can be used as tools to improve physical and mental well-being. By combining their strengths, they can help achieve higher levels of focus, creativity, and relaxation, resulting in a healthier lifestyle.


This editorial was concepted with the help of artificial intelligence (Generative Pre-trained Transformer; ChatGPT) by OpenAI, San Francisco, USA.

Author Contributions

The author did all the research work of this study.

Competing Interests

The author hereby declares that no conflict of interests exists in connection with the publication of this article.


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  2. Zhang J, Zhao BX, Lao L. Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Beijing, China: People’s Medical Publishing House; 2014.
  3. Dorfer L, Moser M, Spindler K, Bahr F, Egarter-Vigl E, Dohr G. 5200-year-old acupuncture in central Europe? Science. 1998; 282: 242-243. [CrossRef]
  4. Can acupuncture help one play better chess [Internet]? 2023 [cited date 2023 April 17]. Available from: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/is-it-conceivable-that-acupuncture-can-help-one-play-better-chess.
  5. Kwon CY, Lee B. Acupuncture or acupressure on Yintang (EX-HN 3) for anxiety: A preliminary review. Med Acupunct. 2018; 30: 73-79. [CrossRef]
  6. Litscher G. Effects of acupressure, manual acupuncture and laserneedle acupuncture on EEG bispectral index and spectral edge frequency in healthy volunteers. Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2004; 21: 13-19. [CrossRef]
  7. Kim MS, Soh KS, Nam TC, Seo KM, Litscher G. Evaluation of sedation on electroencephalographic spectral edge frequency 95 in dogs sedated by acupuncture at GV20 or Yintang and sedative combination. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2006; 31: 201-212. [CrossRef]
  8. Au DW, Tsang HW, Ling PP, Leung CH, Ip PK, Cheung WM. Effects of acupressure on anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med. 2015; 33: 353-359. [CrossRef]
  9. Franklin GL, Pereira BNGV, Lima NSC, Germiniani FMB, Camargo CHF, Caramelli P, et al. Neurology, psychiatry and the chess game: a narrative review. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2020; 78: 169-175. [CrossRef]
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