In the Age of Aquariums, Wu Li-Hsia Finds Acupuncture Is Not a Tankless Job

updated 03/06/1989 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/06/1989 01:00AM

You say your goldfish are looking a little green around the gills? Your kissing gouramis won't even speak to each other? And your piranha is off his feed?

Quit carping. If you're a fish fancier in Alhambra, Calif., help is at hand. Acupuncturist Wu Li-Hsia (Lily) makes house calls (or tank calls, if you prefer).

Wu, a partner in the Garfield Acupuncture Clinic, has been using her healing skills on people since 1976. She went to Pisces when some of her goldfish came down with red splotches, loss of appetite and loss of scales. "I told my friends I was going to try acupuncture," she says. "They told me I was crazy, but it was better than letting them die."

The tough part was figuring out where to stick the fish. One of the crucial points on the human body is three inches below the kneecap; Wu picked a comparable spot near the fish's tail. She netted the sickest of her goldfish, inserted a two-inch stainless-steel needle and released the living fish-kebab back into the tank. When her goldfish got better, Wu tried the treatment on other denizens of the deep. Before long, Wu had a new school of patients, which she treats for free.

One happy customer is Ann Boomhower, owner of a 12-inch koi. The fish had been sulking at the bottom of the pool before Wu's treatments. "There was a definite improvement," says Boomhower. "The fish started swimming near the top of the water. Its tail was not as severely bent, and it started eating."

It seems doubtful, however, that fish acupuncture will become all the rage. "To tell you the truth, fish are not very important," Wu's partner, Cho Sheng-Gung, told a reporter. "If they die, they die, and you buy a new one." Some people just don't get the point.

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