I'm often asked when inserting needles, ‘what is that point for?’ You would think it would be a one word answer! However, acupuncture is a synergistic medicine. Points work in combination together like a machine, much like our muscles work together to perform a certain action. Have you ever injured a muscle? Let’s say you pulled your quadriceps muscles (front upper thigh). You quickly learn that moving your ankle can cause pain in your quads. This is because the muscles all work together to perform an action. This goes the same for our nervous system, circulatory system, organs and endocrine system (hormones). Our bodies are majestic machines, which is why separating these systems and compartmentalizing medicine is catastrophic!
Acupuncture points are no different! Each point has 10-80 or so different functions. Points are chosen to work in harmony with each other. We call this a ‘prescription of points.’ This is the main difference between ‘dry needling’ (what Physical Therapists, Chiropractors and MD's often use) and what acupuncturist's use. Using one, two or ten points separately for their individual function will promote false healing. To be a master at points and point function stakes many, many years of study and comprehension of their true meaning. There are over 400 main individual points. This is just in the traditional Chinese medicine body points system. This does not include the 100-plus ear points, and two dozen scalp points, paired points or specialty systems such as Japanese or Dr. Tan’s systems. Each point also has a said depth, needle angle and quantity of appropriate stimulation required. With all this in mind, choosing the best points and combinations can be, well, quite complicated sometimes. But have no fear, acupuncture points are my specialty!
Points fascinate me from both an Eastern and Western perspective and also from a physical and emotional aspect as well. Each point lays on a meridian. Think of the meridians as rivers that are drainage from their given lake (these are our organs: lungs, heart, liver, etc.). Each river has little pockets of poolage where the water gathers,circulates and is mixed back in to go further down stream to another lake (another organ). Picture a mountain the top of the mountain houses the most exterior lake (the lake that receives the water from rain —or for us, this is how we receive energy from our food and air intake, etc). The lakes at the bottom would be the ones that are most downstream. For example, the rivers here in the Rockies receive water first from the alpine lakes, while in Arizona,their lakes along the Colorado River get what is left over. Each lake has a job to do—it nourishes a different part of your body and up keeps both your physical and mental health. Therefore, each acupuncture point has both a physical and emotional symptom it is responsible for.
I wanted to list off my favorite acupuncture points for each main meridian. The point names are listed first in English with the organ and meridian the point lays on, followed by a number which signifies how far down the channel it runs. Each channel has from 9-67 individual points. In Chinese, the name is translated to be its ‘esoteric’ Chinese function. The names were given by Chinese masters who thought it described the point by location or its emotional function. Some of the names are quite interesting! You will find too that some of the functions, particularly the emotional functions, are extremely fascinating! Again, this is an extremely shortened list of the points functions but I picked the most common and most interesting indications.
Stomach 36: ZU SAN LI (LEG THREE MILE)—LATERAL LOWER LEG Stomach pain, belching, hunger without desire to eat, poor appetite, flatulence, heaviness of limbs, fatigue, shortness of breath, manic-depression, manic singing, raging, abusive talk and anger, tendency to sadness, outrageous laughter, breast abscess, muscle pain.
Lung 3: TIAN FU (POINT OF THE WINDOW OF HEAVEN)—MID-BICEP REGION Cough, wheezing, nosebleeds, sadness,weeping, disorientation and forgetfulness,‘ghost talk’ (talking to someone who is not there), goiter, swollen throat, purple-white wind skin blotches, nearsightedness.
Large Intestine 4: HE GU (JOINING VALLEY)—IN THE MUSCLE BELLY BETWEEN THE THUMB AND POINTER FINGER Cold/flu, fever, chills, profuse sweating, one sided headache, red eyes, rhinitis, tooth ache, mouth ulcers, rigid tongue, prolonged labor, pain of the bones or sinews (tendons), pain in the spine.
Spleen 6: SAN YIN JIAO (THREE YIN INTERSECTION)—MID INNER ANKLE Heavy feeling in body, diarrhea, abdominal distention, irregular menstruation, heavy or light menstrual bleeding, infertility, impotence, difficult urination, excessive yawning, leg pain and cramps, eczema, cold hands and feet.
Heart 7: SHENMEN (SPIRIT GATE)—ALONG THE WRIST CREASE PALM SIDE AND PINKY SIDE Insomnia, sleep talking, poor memory,epilepsy, dementia, desire to laugh, insulting people, fear and fright, loss of voice, pounding heart palpitations, no thirst, red face,shortness of breath.
Small Intestine 3: HOU XI (BACK STREAM)—BELOW AND ON THE OUTSIDE BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE PINKY Stiffness of neck, difficulty turning neck, bilateral headache, pain of shoulders, night sweating, jaundice, deafness, swollen eyes, toothache.
Urinary Bladder 23: SHEN SHU (KIDNEY SHU)—ONE INCH LATERAL AND BILATERAL OF THE LOWER LUMBAR SPINE EVEN WITH L2 Edema, frequent urination, diabetes, low libido, asthma, night blindness, fatigue, alternating chills and fever, pain in the low back and knees, aching bones.
Kidney 3: TAI XI (SUPREME STREAM)—INSIDE ANKLE BETWEEN THE ROUND ANKLEBONE AND ACHILLES TENDON. Tinnitus, dizziness, headache, phlegm in throat, diabetes, profuse sweating, excessive dreaming, low back pain, cold hands and feet, swollen legs, pain in ankles.
The wonderful thing about acupuncture is that most everything is very treatable with this medicine. I have had people come in with chronic, years long, 24/7 hiccups. I’ve seen many strange autoimmune conditions, viruses, unexplained pain or sensations, masses and abscesses, skin conditions, digestive disorders, menstrual and fertility problems. You name it and acupuncture can greatly help. The best part about it is that acupuncture can permanently correct a disorder. At my clinic, you’re given a hefty dose of lifestyle, diet and other easy, affordable ideas that you can do at home to continue your health outside of having to see a healthcare professional. And as always, I try to post new information on my website and company Facebook page frequently. Check it out for tons of free info. My greatest interest is your health. It is easily attainable with some simple, inexpensive techniques and tricks, such as acupuncture. “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”— Albert Einstein