The Conceptional Vessels Meridian (The Ren Channel)

This meridian is not associated with any organ but it possesses yin character and it endowed with a controlling influence over all the yin meridians of the body.It is described as a conceptional vessel because of its special control over the reproductive functions and as ‘Ren channel’ because of anterior midline position in the body (Ren means
front” in Chinese record).

Total number of points : 24.

Starting point : In the center of the perineum in front of the anus.

Terminal point : Middle of the mentolabial sulcus.

Pathway : This meridian originates in the pelvic cavity and emerges at
the perineum between the anus and the external genitalia. It runs upwards in front of the pubic symphysis and then ascends along the anterior midline of the abdomen, chest and neck. It winds around the inferior surface of the lower jaw and ends at the mentolabial sulcus by dividing in two inner branches which go to both eyes and brain.

Therapeutic Indications

1. All the disorders along the pathway of the channel.

2. Genito-urinary disorders.

3. Abdominal disorders.

4. Heart and lung disorders.

5. Diseases of the breast.

6. Speech disorders.

7. Disorders of the mouth and face like Bell’s palsy, trigeminal neuralgia, toothache, excessive salivation.

8. Painless child birth.

9. Oedema and ascites.

Description of Some Selected Points

CV-1 Huiyin 

Location: Center of the perineum in front of the anus.

Indications: Haemorrhoids, prolapse of uterus, irregular menstruation, vaginitis.

                             CV -1 (Huiyin)

CV-2 Qugu (Chu ku)

Location: Just above the superior border of the pubic symphysis in midline.

Indications: Urinary incontinence, frequency of micturition, retention of urine, cystitis, pelvic cellulitis, spermatorrhoea, impotence, nocturnal ~ emissions, premature ejaculation, irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhoea, functional uterine bleeding, leucorrhoea, retained placenta, postpartum haemorrhage, prolapse of uterus.

CV-3 Zhongji (Chung Chi)

Location: On the anterior abdominal wall, 4 t-sun below the umbilicus in the anterior midline.

Indications: Same as  CV-2 (Qugu).

CV-4 Guanyuan (Kuanyuan)

Location: In the midline of the anterior abdominal wall, 3 t-sun below the umbilicus.

Indications: Same as  CV-2 (Qugu).

CV-5 Shimen (Shihmen)

Location: In the midline of the anterior abdominal wall, 2 t-sun below the umbilicus.

Indications: Painless child birth, specific point for oedema, abdominal distension, irregular menstruation.

CV-6 Qihai (Chihai)

Location: In the midline of the anterior abdominal wall, 1.5 t-sun below the umbilicus.

Indications: Neurasthenia, abdominal pain, distended abdomen, menstrual disorders, enuresis, spermatorrhoea.

CV-9 Shuifen

Location: 1 t-sun above umbilicus in the front of midline.

Indications: Oedema (specific point), hyper-peristalsis, varicose veins, dysuria, diarrhoea.


     CV – 2 (Qugu) CV -3 (Zhongii) CV -4 (Guanyuan) CV -5 (Shimen)                             CV -6 (Quihai) CV -9 (Shuifen)

CV-12 Zhongwan (Chungwan)

Location: Midway between the umbilicus and the tip of the xiphoid process in the front midline, 4 t-sun above the umbilicus.

Indications: Gastralgia, epigastric pain, gastric ulcer, reflex oesophagitis, hiatus hernia, gastroptosis, heart burn, hiccup, dyspepsia, nausea and vomiting, retrosternal pain, pain in cardiac region.

CV -12 (Zhongwang) CV -17 (Shangzhong)


CV-17 Shanzhong (Shanchung)

Location: On the midline of the sternum midway between the two nipples at the level of the fourth intercostal space.

Indications: Asthma, bronchitis, cough, pain in the chest, intercostal neuralgia, lactational deficiency, hiccup, heart diseases, acne vulgaris.

CV-23 Lianquan (Lienchuan)

Location: Midway between the lower border of the mandible and the tip of the cricoid cartilage, in the front of midline of the neck.

Indications: Mutism, aphasia, hoarseness of voice, pharyngitis, laryngitis, excessive salivation, tonsillitis.


CV-24 Chengjiang (Chengchiang)

Location: Center of the mentolabial sulcus.

Indications: Facial paralysis, gingivitis, toothache, excessive salivation.

        CV -23 (Lianquan) (Lienchuan)                            CV -24 (Chengjiang) (Chengchiang)

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Acupuncture Spleen Meridian

According to the traditional Chinese description spleen meridian of acupuncture is a yin channel associated with the element earth and possesses interior and exterior relationship with the stomach meridian.

Total number of points: 21.

Starting point: Medial side of the great toe.

Terminal point: Sixth intercostal space in the mid-axillary line.

Description of Selected Points

Sp-3 Taibai (Taipai)

Sp-3 Taibai

Location: On the inner aspect of the foot postero-inferior to the head of the first metatarsal bone at the junction of the two colors of the skin.

Indications: Epigastric pain, gastritis, gastralgia, flatulence, abdominal distension, emesis, bowel disturbances like diarrhea, dysentery, constipation.

Sp-6 Sanyinjiao (Sanyingchiao)

Sp-6 Sanyinjiao

Location: 3 t-sun proximal to the tip of medial malleolus just behind the medial border and posterior surface of the tibia.


  • Bowel disturbances like diarrhoea, abdominal distension, indigestion and lower abdominal pain. Diseases of the genito­urinary organs in both sexes.
  • Dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea and leucorrhoea in females. Impotence, spermatorrhoea, epididymo-orchitis and phosphaturia in males.
  • Retention of urine, frequency of micturition, dysuria and enuresis in both sexes.
  • Diseases of the liver, spleen and kidney.
  • Diseases of the skin like allergies, psoriasis, eczematoid dermatitis and infections.
  • Diabetes mellitus (endocrine disorders).
  • Diseases along the pathway of the channel.
  • Hemiplegia, polyneuropathy, foot drop and myopathies.
  • For the general tonification effect in debility, fatigue, weakness and low blood pressure.
  • Vascular disorders like Burger’s diseases and varicose ulcers. Diseases of the reticulo endothelial system.
  • Painless child birth (acupuncture delivery).

Sp-8 Diji (Tichi)

Location : 3 t-sun below Sp-9 (Yinlingquan).

Indications: Menstrual disturbances, distended abdomen and pain in the loins and lumbago.

Sp-8 Diji and Sp-9 Yinlingquan

Sp-9 Yinlingquan (Yinlingchuan)

Location: In the groove of the lower border of the medial condyle of the tibia in a level with the lower border of the tuberosity of the tibia, same level as that of GB-34 (Yanglingquan).

Indications: Abdominal pain, dysuria, enuresis, nocturnal pollution, menstrual disturbances, dysentery, elephantiasis and oedema anywhere in the body.

Sp-10 Xuehai (Hsueh Hai)

Location: 2 t-sun proximal to the superior border of the patella on the anteromedial aspect of the thigh.

Sp-10 Xuehai and Sp-15 Daheng

Indications: Disorders of the knee joint, menstrual disturbances, urticaria, psoriasis, skin infections, tropical eosinophilia, pneumonitis, various allergic disorders and diseases of genito­urinary organs.

Sp-15 Daheng (Taheng)

Location: 4 t-sun lateral to midline at the level of umbilicus.

Indications: All types of GI tract disorders, abdominal disorders and obesity

Sp-21 Dabao (Tapao)

Location: Sixth intercostal space in the mid-axillary line.

Indications: Thoracalgia, dyspnoea, general bodyache, neurasthenia and costal pain.

Sp-21 Dabao

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Acupuncture Stomach Meridian

According to the traditional Chinese description stomach meridian is a yang channel associated with the element earth and possesses interior and exterior relationship with the spleen meridian.

Total number of points: 45.

Starting point: Below the eye lateral to ala-nasi .

Terminal point: Lateral side of the tip of the second toe near the nail.

Pathway: This channel originates from a point lateral to ala-nasi and ascends to the medial canthus of the eye. Here, after meeting the urinary bladder channel, it courses to the midpoint of the infraorbital margin and descends down straight to the angle of the mouth . It then curves towards the mentolabialsulcus and reaches the angle of the mandible and there it divides into two branches:

Ascending Branch: From angle of the mandible it ascends up towards the front of the ear and courses further upwards to the angle of the forehead where it joins with the governing vessels channel.

Descending branch: It descends down along the lateral side of the neck to reach the supraclavicular fossa and divides again into inner and superficial branches:

Inner branch: This branch passes through the thorax and diaphragm and descends down straight to the inguinal area. At the level of St-30 (Qichong) it meets with the superficial branch.

Superficial branch: This branch runs straight downwards from the supraclavicular fossa along the mamillary line to reach the inguinal area where it joins with the inner branch at the level of St-30 (Qichong). It further descends down along the front of the thigh up to the knee where it turns laterally to become antero-lateral to the tibia. It descends down directly to the dorsum of the foot where it reaches the lateral side of the tip of the second toe and ends there.

Description of Selected Points

St-1 Chengqi (Chengchi)

Location : Directly below the center of the pupil on the mid-point of the infraorbital ridge.

Indications: Acute and chronic conjunctivitis, epiphora due to wind, myopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism, optic neuritis, retinitis, optic atrophy, cataract. glaucoma and blindness.

St-1 Chengqi

St-2 Sibai (Szupai)

Location: 0.7 t-sun below the. St-1 (Chengqi) in the depression at the infraorbital foramen, vertically below the center of the pupil.

Indications: Facial nerve paralysis, trigeminal neuralgia, maxillary sinusitis, headache and all eye problems including spasms of eye lids, wrinkles on the face and acne.

St-2 Sibai

St-3 Nose-Juliao (Chuliao)

Location: Directly below the middle of the eye, at level with the inferior border of the ala-nasi.

Indications: Facial nerve paralysis, trigeminal neuralgia, toothache, swollen and painful cheeks and lips, and nasal disorders like rhinitis and epistaxis. Wrinkling on the face and acne vulgaris.

St-3 Nose-Juliao

St-4 Dicang (Tit Sang)

Location: 0.4 t-sun lateral to the angle of the mouth inside the nasolabial sulcus.

Indications : Excessive salivation, all types of speech disorders. facial nerve paralysis and trigeminal neuralgia, acne vulgaris.

St-4 Dicang

St-5 Daying (Taying)

Location: In front of the angle of the mandible on the antero-inferior border of the masseter muscle behind the facial artery. It is helpful to palpate the artery on the mandible to locate the point or ask the patient to clench the teeth.

Indications : Trismus, swollen cheeks, toothache, trigeminal neuralgia, and facial nerve paralysis. It is an anesthetic point for the tonsillectomy and tooth extraction.

St-5 Daying

St-6 Jiache (Chiache)

Location: Over the masseter muscle anterior to the angle of the mandible. Ask the patient to clench the teeth for better location of the point.

Indications: Toothache, parotitis, facial nerve paralysis, painful impacted wisdom tooth and acupuncture anesthesia for tooth extraction and tonsillectomy

St-6 Jiache

St-7 Xiaguan (Hsiakuan)

Location: In the center of the depression of the lower margin of the zygomatic arch, anterior to temporomandibular joint. It can be located by keeping the jaw slightly open or by asking the patient for opening and closing the mouth and keeping the finger in front of the ear for palpating the movements of temporomandibular joint or by taking a point 1 t-sun above St-6 (Jiache) .

Indications: Facial nerve paralysis, arthritis or dislocation ot temporomandibular joint, toothache, deafness, tinnitus aurium, inflammation of the mandible, tinitus and trigeminal neuralgia. Acupuncture anesthesia for tooth extraction of upper jaw.

St-8 Touwei

Location: At the angle of the forehead 0.5 t-sun inside the natural anterior hairline.

Indications: Headache, migraine; giddiness, eye disorders and ophthalmagia, frontal sinusitis and lacrimation. It is a specific point for paralysis of eye muscles together with
UB-58 (Feiyang).

St-8 Touwei

St-1 6 Yingchuang

Location: Below the third rib on the mamillary lines.

Indications: Bronchitis, cough, asthma, pain in ribs, breast disorders.

St-17 Ruzhong (Juchung)

Location: Centre of the nipple.

Indications: Cough, asthma, chest pain, hyperperistalsis, diarrhoea and mastitis.

St-18 Rugen (Juken)

Location: Mid-clavicular line, in fifth intercostal space, below the nipple. Indications: Lactational deficiency, mastitis, heart disorders, heaviness and pain in chest and intercostal neuralgia.

St-21 Liangmen

Location: 4 t-sun above the umbilicus and 2 t-sun lateral to the midline.

Indications: Gastric ulcers, gall bladder colic, visceroptosis, umbilical and incisional hernia.

St-18, St-21, St-25, St-29, St-30, St-31

St-25 Tianshu (Tienshu)

Location: 2-t-sun lateral to the umbilicus over rectus abdominis muscle.

Indications: Acute and chronic gastroenteritis, dysentery, constipation, paralysis or laxity of the abdominal musculature or visceroptosis, vomiting, cholera, paralytic ileus, appendicitis and menstrual irregularities amongst females.

St-29 Guilai (Kuilai)

Location: 4-t-sun below the umbilicus 2-t-sun lateral to the midline.

Indications: All the acute and chronic disorders of urogenital organs, i.e. functional uterine bleeding, menorrhagia, amenorrhoea, spasmodic dysmenorrhoea and leucorrhoea, prolapse of uterus and pelvic cellulitis in females, orchitis and epididymitis in males and urinary disorders in both sexes.

St-31 Biguan (Pikuan)

St-31 Biguan

Location: In the line of the lower border of the pubic symphysis, directly below the anterio-superior iliac spine.

Indications: Hemiplegia, paraplegia, poliomyelitis, arthiritis of the knee, urticaria, wasting of the quadriceps muscle.

St-32 Femur-Futu (Futu)

Location: 6 t-sun above the upper margin of the patella between rectus femoris and vatus lateralis on antero-lateral aspect of the thigh.

Indications: Hemiplegia, paraplegia, poliomyelitis, arthritis of the knee, urticaria, wasting of the quadriceps muscle.

St-34 Liangqiu (Liang Chiu)

Location: In a depression on the front of thigh 2 t-sun above the upper and outer edge of the patella, vertically above the lateral foramen of patella or St-35 (Dubi).

Indications: Diseases of the knee joints, epigastric pain, gastralgia, diarrhea, mastitis and facial neuralgia.

St-36 Zusanli (Tsusanli)

Location: One finger breadth lateral to the lower border of the tibial tuberosity of 3 t-sun below St-35 (Dubi).

Indications: Immunity improving and tonification of the body in debility, fatigue, weakness and hypotension. Poliomyelitis, polyneuropathy, weakness and myopathies of the leg. Epigastric pain, gastralgia, gastritis, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, flatulence, paralytic ileus and appendicitis. Hypertension, diabetes, thromboangitis, obliterance, elephantiasis and varicose veins.

St-40 Feng-lung

Location: 5 t-sun below St-36 (Zusanli) and 2-finger breadth lateral to the anterior border of the tibia.

Indications: Cough with expectoration, hemiplegia, paralysis of lower extremities, vertigo, epilepsy and schizophrenia.

St-41 Jiexi

Location: On the dorsum of the foot at the midpoint of the transverse crease of ankle.

Indications: Pain and arthiritis of the ankle joint, foot drop, chronic non-healing ulcers, varicose veins and hemiplegia.

St-41 Jiexi

St-44 Neiting

Location: On the dorsal aspect of the foot 0.5 t-sun proximal to the web space between the second and third toes.

Indications: Arthritis of the ankle and small joints of the foot; paralysis and polyneuropathy of the lower extremity.

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Acupuncture Large Intestine Meridian

According to the traditional Chinese description large intestine meridian is a yang channel, associated with the element metal and possesses interior and exterior relationship with the lung meridian.

Total number of points: 20.

Starting point: Tip of the radial side of the index finger.

Terminal point: Between nasolabial-groove and ala-nasi (opposite side).

Pathway: After taking origin from the starting point on the radial side of the index finger, this channel passes over the first dorsal inter-metacarpal space to reach the space bound by the tendons of the muscles extensor pollicis longus and brevis (commonly known as anatomical snuff-box). Here it crosses over the scaphoid bone and courses posterolaterally upwards to reach the lateral side of the elbow. Further, it ascends along the anterior border of the outer side of the upper arm to the shoulder joint and anterior border of acromion up to the seventh cervical vertebra. From here it runs towards supraclavicular fossa and then divides into two branches.

Branches: At the level of supraclavicular fossa, main trunk splits into a superficial branch for the face and a deep inner branch.

Superficial branch: From supraclavicular fossa it ascends up to the neck, passes over interior angle of the mandible and ascends over the upper lip to reach opposite ala-nasi to end over there. There is a crossing of the two opposite large intestine channels at the philtrum.

Inner branch: It descends down from the supraclavicular fossa to lung and from there it crosses the cardiac orifice of the diaphragm and reaches its principle organ, the large intestine.

Therapeutic Indications

  1. All the diseases along the pathway of the meridian.
  2. Painful disorders of any part of the body.
  3. Disorders of the large intestine.
  4. Disorders of the related organ lung.
  5. Skin disorders.
  6. Nasal disorders.
  7. Infections
  8. Conditions where homeostatis and immunity improvement is required.
  9. As analgesic points for all acupuncture anaesthesia.

Description of the Selected Points

LI-4 Hegu (Hoku)

Location: It is located on the highest point of the bulging made by first dorsal interosseous muscle when the thumb and index finger are held close together in adduction.

Indications: Painful conditions of the eye, trigeminal neuralgia, lower toothache, pharyngitis, sore-throat, Bell’s palsy, rhinitis, coryza, pyrexia, and as a supplementary point during any surgical procedure to alleviate pain.

LI4 – Hegu

LI-5 Yangxi (Yanghsi)

LI5 – Yangxi

Location: Over the wrist joint between the tendons of the extensor pollicis brevis and extensor pollicis longus muscles (centre of the anatomical snuff-box).

Indications: Painful conditions of wrist and hand like osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, neurological conditions like wrist drop, painful conditions of the eye, toothache, tinnitus aurium and infantile indigestion.

LI-10 Shousanli (Sanli)

Location: 2 t-sun below. LI-11 (Quchi).
Indications: Hemiplegia, tremors and other involuntary movements of upper extremity, arthritis of elbow, painful shoulder and arm, diarrhea with griping and other abdominal pain. Acupressure point for headache.

LI-10 Shousanli

L1-11 Quchi (Chuchih)


a. Midpoint of the line connecting L5 (Chize) and lateral epicondyle of humerous.
b. Semiflex the elbow and take the lateral end of the elbow crease.

Indications: Malaise, weakness and neurasthenia, hypertension, paralysis of the arm, shoulder and back pain. urticaria, diabetes, skin disorders like psoriasis and dermatitis.

LI-11 Quchi

LI-15 Jianyu (Chienyu)


1. On the depression at antero-inferior border of acromioclavicular joint when the arm is adducled .

2. When the arm is held away from the body in adduction. it is situated in the anteriqr depression of the acromion.

lndications : Periarthritis shoulder (frozen shoulder) paralysis, painful arc syndrome, sprain and strain of the shoulder and all other painful shoulder disorders.

LI-18 Neck-Futu (Futu)

Location: On the neck 3 t-sun lateral to the center of the laryngeal prominence, between the two heads of the sterno-cleidomastoid muscle.
Indications : Excessive expectoration, cough, sore-throat, enlarged thyroid. hoarseness of voice. aphasia and stammering. It is used in thyroid surgery as an acupuncture anesthesia point.

LI-18 Neck-Futu

LI-19 Nose-Heliao (Holiao)

Location: 0.5 t-sun by the side of GV-26 (Renzhong) below the lateral margin of the nostril.

Indications : Stuffy nose, trigeminal neuralgia, upper toothache, rhinitis, epistaxis and smoking addiction, face disorders like Bell’s palsy , wrinkling on face and acne vulgaris.

LI-19 Nose-Heliao

LI-20 Yingxiang (Yinghsiang)

Location : Midpoint of the line drawn horizontally from the highest point of the ala-nasi towards nasolabial groove on the opposite side (Fig. 7.16).

Indications: Trigeminal neuralgia, common cold, upper toothache, maxillary sinusitis and face disorders like Bell’s palsy, wrinkling on face and acne vulgaris.

LI-20 Yingxiang

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Some Extraordinary Points of Acupuncture

In this section we have described some extra points which do not belong to any of the meridians. Most of them lie outside the path of the traditionally described channels but a few of them like Yintang (Ex-1) lie on the channel.

Some Selected Extraordinary Points on the Head and Neck

Ex-1 Yintang

Location : On the center of the glabella, midway between the medial ends of the two eyebrows. It falls on the governing vessels meridian

Indications : Frontal sinusitis, frontal headache. migraine. stuffy nose, rhinitis, epistaxis, epilepsy, diseases of the eye, mental disorders, vertigo, labyrinthitis.

                   Ex -1 (Yintang)

Ex-2 Taiyang

Location: In the depression about 1 t-sun lateral to the midpoint between the outer canthus of the eye and lateral end of the eyebrow.

To locate the point nicely, one imaginary line is extended from the lateral end of the eyebrow and another along the margin of the lower lid. The spot where these two lines meet is Taiyang.

Indications: Temporal headache, trigeminal neuralgia, migraine, facial paralysis, toothache, acupuncture anesthesia.

                     Ex -2 (Taiyang)


Ex-3 Yuyao

Location: Midpoint of the eyebrow, in the line of the pupil.

Indications: Eye diseases, facial paralysis, frontal headache, frontal sinusitis, ptosis.

Ex-7 Yiming

Location: 1 t-sun posterior to  TW-17 (Yifeng), lies behind the lobule of the ear in the depression between the mastoid process and the mandible.

Indications: Insomnia, myopia, optic atrophy, hypermetropia, night blindness, cataract, tinnitus, deafness, vertigo, otitis media, schizophrenia, occipital headache.

                        Ex -7 (Yiming)

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Acupuncture Lung Meridian

According to the traditional Chinese description, the lung meridian is a yin channel associated with the element metal and possesses interior and exterior relationship with the large intestine (LI) meridian.

Total number of points: 11.

Starting point: On the front of the chest, in the first intercostal space below the clavicle near the coracoid process.

Terminal point: On the lateral side of the thumb, close to the corner of the nail.

Pathway : After originating from the middle warmer (stomach) it descends to connect with the large intestine. It ascends up towards the diaphragm and enters its principal organ, the lung. From here it courses upwards and outwards towards the first intercostal space to become superficial.

Description of Selected Points

L-1 Zhongfu (Chungfu)

Location: 6 t-sun lateral to the mid-line in first intercostal space, on the front of the chest near the coracoid process below the clavicle.

L1 – (Zhongfu)

Indications: Cough, dyspnoea, haemoptysis, pain in chest, asthma, fullness in the chest, pneumonia and bronchitis. Thoracodynia, intercostal neuralgia, herpes zoster and fibrositis of the chest wall.

  • Breast Disorders: Underdeveloped breasts.
  • Loose breasts.
  • Gynaecossiastic.
  • Excessive flow of breast milk.
  • Lack of flow of breast milk.

L-5 Chize (Chihtse)

L5 – (Chize)

Location: On the front of the elbow, in the depression lateral to the tendon of biceps brachii muscle, slightly flexed elbow makes the biceps tendon prominent, rendering localisation of the point easier.

Indications: Respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis, epistaxis, haemoptysis, cough and sore throat. Diseases of the elbow joint like arthritis and synovitis, swollen and painful arm can also be treated by this point. Paralysis and neuropathies of the upper extremity. Skin disorders like allergy, dermatitis and psoriasis.

L-7 Lieque (Lieh Chueh)

Location: 1.5 t-sun proximal to the distal wrist crease, on the outer aspect of the forearm. Alternatively, it can be located by linking the two hands of the patient together so that the index finger and thumb of both hands are crossed; where the tip of the index finger touches is this point.

Indications: Respiratory diseases like bronchial asthma and asthmatic bronchitis. Localized diseases like arthritis of wrist, wrist-drop. Cervical spondylosis, stiff neck and torticollis. Bell’s palsy and trigeminal neuralgia.

L7 – (Lieque)

L-9 Taiyuan

Location: On the lateral end of the distal transverse wrist crease, lateral to the radial artery.

Indications : Respiratory disorders like asthma, bronchitis, chest pain and cough. Diseases of blood vessels like Burger’s disease, Raynaud s disease, varicose veins, varicose ulcers and arteriosclerosis. Painful conditions of back and shoulders, myoneuropathies of the upper extremity, carpal tunnel syndrome and painful disorders of the wrist and hand.

L-9 Taiyuan

Acupuncture Massage Types

There are different ways to stimulate acupuncture points with the use of hand. Therefore, there are various types of acupuncture massages. Putting pressure over an acupuncture point is called acupressure and massaging the point or giving a peculiar type of vibration during the massage is called micromassage or acumassage. In history, before the widespread use of acupuncture with needles, these massages and especially acupressure was more commonly used. Hence, today, the use of these types of massages may be useful if you’re afraid of someone inserting needles to your body. Instead of going to a clinic where needles are used, acupuncture at home with acupressure or other massages may be more convenient if you consider that it may be difficult to take elderly people out of their houses.


Light pressure at the point will tonify the energy while the hard pressure at the point will disperse or sedate the energy. Hard pressure is applied for some time and immediately released after one or two minutes and again the pressure is applied. This method is very good to give fast relief in pain. Slow increase of pressure at a particular point and slow release of pressure will give better results in some nervine conditions and psychosomatic diseases.

A Good Explanatory Video for the Use of Acupressure At Home


By massaging at the point we can either tonify the energy or sedate the energy . Massage is of different types:

  • Tui message with palm and fingers,
  • Na with the heel of palm.deep massage is carried out, and
  • Ning catching or pinching the body points in the hand and giving massage.

With tui we can tonify the energy while with na we sedate the energy and with ning we can reduce the pain very fast by releasing the spasm of muscles.


If biceps muscle is tightly contracted then a few vibrations can be produced in the fingers. While creating these vibrations, slow hand massage is given by putting full force to vibrate the entire body of the acupuncturist, and this will give a micromassage. With light micromassage we can tonify the energy while with deep micromassage we can sedate the energy.

There are many other methods of stimulating the acupuncture points with hand, and one of these is called shiatsu, a Japanese system of giving pressure and massage at the acupuncture points.

With light type of massage circulation of blood is improved and with deep type of massage and pressure spasm of the muscle is reduced as well as due to the increase in muscle tone and release of endorphin pain is reduced.

Ancient Methods of Acupuncture Application

In the beginning of acupuncture it was found that stimulation of a few specific areas on the human skin was capable of maintaining the equilibrium of the energy flow in the human body. In the stone age stimulation was carried out with sharp pieces of stone, bone and bamboo. This was called as “bians“. With the advancement of knowledge different types of metal needles like gold, silver and brass came to be utilized for the stimulation of acupuncture points. However, ancient methods of acupuncture are still widely applied around the world.

Acupuncture Stimulation Types

According to the traditional, Chinese concept, the acupuncture. points are located on the body surface on the meridian system. When they are stimulated by different methods, they are capable of bringing the equilibrium in the disturbed energy or qi. By adopting different methods of stimulation this energy can be tonified or sedated.

Heat Stimulation

In the olden days it was a practice to heat acupuncture points and the following methods were used for it.

Direct heat: This was being done by putting a hot coin or by scarring the acupuncture point with red hot iron or by putting direct fire on the Ah-shi points.

This technique involved crude methods. In modern society this technique is not being used as this is painful and permanent scar formation also takes place.

Moxibustion: Moxibustion therapy involves treating the disease by heating a point by burning moxa wool to produce the heat on the certain points of the human body.

Moxibustion (indirect) with moxa roll

Cupping therapy: Cupping was known as the “horn method” in ancient times. This means the treatment of the diseases through local congestion or blood stasis by using a small jar or cup in which a vacuum is created by burning a piece of cotton soaked with alcohol kept inside the jar or cup so that the oxygen inside is consumed and the vacuum is created. Nowadays the cup is attached by suction to the skin surface over the selected points.

Cups Used for Cupping Therapy

Needle Insertion

Acupuncture points can be stimulated by inserting the needle in different ways to get the desired effect. Two kinds of desired effects were achieved by different methods:

  • Tonification (bu) or by inforcing energy, and
  • Dispersion (xie) or by reducing or sedating energy.

The different types of needle insertions are explained below.

Superficial needling: Superficial needling of about 1/2 t-sun and less than that or subcutaneous needling in the body will tonify the energy or will increase the energy. It is used in chronic cases, polio, paralysis, hemiplegia, paraplegia, etc.

Deep Needling: Putting a deep needle at the point will sedate the energy and hence it is used in acute cases with painful conditions.

Along the direction of energy flow: Every meridian has a particular direction of flow of energy. When from a particular point if we pass a needle along the direction of flow of energy, it will tonify the energy or will increase the energy.

Against the direction of energy flow: If the needle is inserted against the direction of energy flow, it will sedate the energy.

Needling according to respiration: If we put the needle during inspiration it will tonify the energy, if we put the needle during expiration that will sedate the energy.

Slow or fast needling: Putting the needle rapidly and removing it slowly will cause the tonification of energy and putting the needle slowly and removing it rapidly will cause the sedation of energy.

Movements of Needles

Various Ways of Manipulating Needles

Tapping: On the head of the needle with a Finger tip very slow tapping can be done about 20 to 30 times in a minute. This is a mild stimulation.

Up and down movement: Needle is held between the thumb and the index finger and slow up and down movements are carried out without taking out the needle from the skin at that point in the range of 1 cm and 5 to 20 times a minute. This is mild stimulation.

Rotating: The needle is held between the thumb and the index finger and is rotated by the fingers either clock-wise or counterclockwise about 15 to 20 times a minute.

Flicking: The needle is held between the thumb and the index finger and up and down movement is carried out with needle moving in the range of 2 cm and at a very fast rate about 50 to 60 times per minute. This is strong stimulation.

Vibration: The needle is held between the thumb and the index finger and given the vibration sideways and up and down movement about 30 to 40 minutes. This is again a strong stimulation.

Snapping: The needle is held between the thumb and the index finger and then with very fast rotatory movements by the fingers up and down movements are carried out about 40 to 60 times a minute. This is very strong stimulation. Rotatory or pill rolling movement is carried out simultaneously with up and down movement.

Heat Stimulation to the Needle

After the needle is inserted at the point moxa is applied to the head of the needle and ignited or alternatively the needle head is given a direct heat with a fire to the inserted needle for half a minute to 1 minute. This gives both the effects at a time where tonification as well as sedation or dispersion of energy is desired.

Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an art of healing where very fine needles are introduced into the skin for curing a disease at quite definite spots called acupuncture points. The usual inference that could be drawn from this is that it might be a very painful procedure, but the reality is just contrary to it. The needle prick is hardly as painful as an ant-bite.

Acupuncture points are definite spots on the human body. Picture shows acupuncture points
UB·1 (JingmingJ GB -1(TongziliaoJ St·1(ChengqiJ)  LI-4 (Hegu) on the face and hand of a child.

The acupuncture points are about 700 in number and they have their definite places on the body-surface. Most of the acupuncture points fall in the pathway of the regular channels (or meridians) through which the vital energy chi flows on the surface and inside the body, but many of them are situated beyond the pathway of the channels in other different places in the body. In disease when the balance of yin and yang, which should always be in equilibrium, is disturbed, these tiny spots (acupuncture points) are needled and it is believed that this process brings back the disturbed balance of yin and yang into equilibrium. It is not always that needles are used, but there are other methods of acupuncture used in day-to-day practice as follows:

  1. With needles
    a. By using hand manipulation for stimulation.
    b. By using elect rical stimulation.
    c. By applying heat to the needles.
  2. Moxibustion
    By using heat of moxa rolls and moxa powder on acupuncture
  3. Acupressure Massage on acupuncture points.
Acupressure is a form of hand stimulation which can be used for the treatment of various common ailments. Picture shows the acupuncturist giving acumassage to release mental tension.

How Acupuncture Works

The logical question at this time is: ‘How does acupuncture work? This is not an easy question to be fully answered with the present knowledge about it. After several decades of dedicated research we know very little of how the normal nervous system functions in a healthy, let alone a diseased, body. Serious research on acupuncture commenced only a few years ago, and such a short period has been insufficient to unravel the entire mechanism of the complicated neurophysiological phenomenon which acupuncture evidently is. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact that acupuncture works in a great variety of ways in different disorders and its action must therefore be assumed to vary to some extent with each type of pathology. Nevertheless, many aspects of its actions are now being understood in ‘the light of recent research and those are being placed together in an attempt to solve the enigma.

First of all, it is necessary to be clear about what really happens when a very fine needle is inserted into an acupuncture point on the body surface. The effects observed are both subjective and objective. One of the subjective effects may be a slight pain at the point of needling, but with the use of proper techniques by a trained acupuncturist this is usually negligible. Another important subjective effect is appearance of a peculiar sensation which is called dequi in Chinese. There is no exact equivalent for this term in English but it is usually translated as “taking’ Dequi“.is a combination of slight soreness, heaviness, numbness and distention.

Effects of Acupuncture

As regards the objective effects produced by needling, six different effects are recognized.

Analgesic (Pain killing) Effect

This is brought about by lowering of the pain in the different parts of body. This is the physiological basis of acupuncture anesthesia and also explains how acupuncture is able to relieve the pain of arthritis, toothache, headache, backache and other painful disorders. Some acupuncture points are more effective in this respect than others. This is an example of what is called the specificity of acupuncture points.

Sedative Effect

Some people may even fall sleep during treatment but wake up refreshed . It has been shown that there is a decrease in delta and theta wave activity on the electroencephalogram during acupuncture treatment. These effects are utilized in the acupuncture treatment of insomnia, anxiety states, addiction, epilepsy and behavioral problems.

Homeostatic Effect

This means adjustment of the internal environment of the body towards a state of proper balance. Normally homeostatism is maintained by balanced activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system and also by the glandular system. In addition there are numerous homeostatic mechanisms in the body for regulating the respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, urinary excretion, metabolic rate, sweating, temperature, etc. Ionic balance of the blood and many other parameters are seriously deranged in many diseases, and in such cases acupuncture has been found very helpful in restoring the original state of equilibrium. Very often the same set of points can be used for treatment for opposite conditions like high and low blood pressure, or diarrhea and constipation. These are examples of the homeostatic or normalizing action of acupuncture.

Immunity Enhancement

Under the acupuncture treatment body resistance to a disease is strengthened. This has been shown to be due to an increase in the white corpuscles (leucocytosis), antibodies, gammaglobulins and other biochemical substances which increase the resistive power of the body. In many cases a two-to four-fold increase in antibody titre has been observed, presumably brought about by activation of the reticuloendothelial system. Acupuncture is therefore very useful in controlling a large number of infections.

Effects on Motor Action

This is meant for motor recovery in patients who have been paralyzed due to one cause or another. Even late cases of motor paralysis respond well to acupuncture therapy despite previous failure with other systems of therapy. The explanation which is complex, apparently involves antidromic stimulation of the anterior horn, nerve cells are reactivated through a biofeed mechanism operating through the Renshaw and Cajal cells of the spinal cord or their cranial equivalents.

Tonification Effect

Acupuncture is quite effective in tonifying the body. The effects which are being achieved by prescribing various vitamins, proteins and anabolic steroids in cases like chronic illness, fatigue and old age can be produced by stimulating acupuncture points.

Psychological Effect

This has a calming and tranquilizing action apart from mere sedation.
“This is believed to be due to some action on the mid-brain. Measurable effects have also been reported on the metabolic chemistry of the brain tissue. For instance, there is an increase in the dopamine content of the brain after acupuncture. This may account for its effectiveness in certain mental disorders and in parkinsonism in which there is considerable depletion of the dopamine content of the brain.

Five Elements of Chinese Philosophy and Acupuncture

According to the traditional Chinese philosophy, yin and yang produced the five elements, and all matter was fashioned from these elements. It was further imagined that the elements must have their parallels in the human body. Wood, fire, earth, metal and water correspond to the liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys, respectively. According to the Chinese medical theory they are the solid organs. Each solid organ has a corresponding hollow organ. They are, in order, the gall bladder, small intestine, stomach, large intestine and urinary bladder. Solid organs are yin, while hollow organs are yang in functions and characteristics.

  • Fire symbolises heart, small intestine, pericardium and triple warmer;
  • earth symbolises stomach and spleen;
  • metal stands for lung and large intestine;
  • water symbolises kidney and urinary bladder and
  • wood represents liver and gall bladder.
Five Elements and Organs

These five elements are constantly transformed into one another and there are two cycles of events in this process of transformation-the creative and the destructive cycles. According to the creative cycle earth forms metal, metal melts into water, water leads to the creation of wood, wood creates fire by burning, and fire gives rise to earth (ashes). According to the destructive cycle the metal cuts wood, wood eats earth, earth destroys water, water destroys fire and fire destroys metal.

Creative, Destructive and Interactive Cycles

The same principle is applied to the related organs in the body. The vital energy chi follows certain definite rules in respect of the direction, time and side of the body. According to one rule known as mother and son law, it flows from-mother to son and in sequence. The’ kidney is the mother of liver and liver is the mother of heart. Similarly according to other rule (husband-wife law) husband dominates over the wife;organs related to the husband are small intestine, heart, gall bladder, liver, urinary bladder, and kidney while those related to the wife are large intestine, lung, stomach, spleen, triple warmer and pericardium.

The flow of energy follows certain rules in relation to timing also . The rule pertaining to this is known as the mid-day, mid-night law. The circulation of energy is shown in a chart known as organ clock.

Organ Clock

The traditional Chinese concepts, which were supposed to be mere imaginations, received a strong support from the Kirlian photography of Russians and researches by Korean scholars. Kirlian photography is a Soviet invention made way back in 1939 by S.D. Kirlian and V. Kirlian. In this technique a living being is observed and photographed under high frequency and high voltage electrical fields. The photograph shows a halo and it is suggested that this halo is the energy flow of chi. The Korean scholars (Kim Bong Han and coworkers) have injected acupuncture points with a radio-isotope and watched its flow. They could demonstrate the flow of fluid in the path or meridians. Besides the age -old traditional Chinese theories, there are many modern theories also put forward by some master minds who have a grip of both the fields-the acupuncture and the modern medical science. This is an endeavor to explain the acupuncture effect in the light of modern medical science of physiology. The most important amongst many are the theories put forward by Anton Jayasuriya and Fernando (1977), Ronald , Melzack and Wall (1963) and Pameranz (1976). Anton Jayasuriya and Fernando have put forward the motor gate theory, Ronald Melzack and Wall have put forward gate control theory while Pomeranz has suggested the theory of endorphin release.