To the Editor: Cao gío, also known as
"coining'" or "coin rubbing," is a dermabrasive therapy used to relieve symptoms
in a variety of illnesses,1 and is most
commonly used by Cambodians and other ethnic groups from Southeast Asia.2 This traditional health practice is said to release
excess "wind" or energy considered responsible for illness.2
The skin is first lubricated with medical oils or balms and subsequently rubbed
firmly using the edge of a coin to produce parallel ecchymoses on the chest
and the back.3 This procedure often generates
skin eruptions in a pine tree pattern with 2 long vertical marks along either
side of the spine and several lines paralleling the ribs. Known complications
of this procedure are burns after application of heated oil and cerebral hemorrhage.4 In addition, parents who applied coining to children
have been falsely accused of child abuse.3
Oils and balms may also contain potentially toxic components if systemically
absorbed. We report a case of camphor intoxication from a balm used in coining.
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