Friday, 1 August 2014

Know Your Points 12: SP 10 Xuehai (Sea of Blood)

SP 10 is located with the knee slightly flexed. It is 2 cun (anatomical inches, approx twice the width of the patients thumb) above the superior medial border of the patella (the inner and upper corner of the kneecap). It is located on the bulge of the muscle (quadriceps femoris).

SP 10 is called "sea of blood" because its main effect is on the "blood." "Blood" (xue) is a broad term which refers to various biological functions of the blood such as cellular function, the immune system, and the general nutritive integrity of the body. It also refers to the functions of the menstrual cycle.

SP 10 is said to invigorate blood flow and "cool" the blood. SP 10 thus helps with conditions of stagnant blood flow and inflammation. This is particularly the case in the skin and the reproductive system. "Damp-hot" skin rashes (moist and inflamed) are treated with this point. PMS, irregular or delayed menstruation, and inflammation in the genitals are also treated.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Know Your Points 11: K 3 Taixi (Great Stream)

Kidney 3, Taixi, is a wonderful point located between the medial malleolus (the inner ankle mound) and the achilles tendon.

K 3 "tonifies kidney qi", ie. it strengthens the bodies use of its inherent resources. Another way of saying that might be to say that K 3 is an adaptogen.

K 3 tonifies both the "yin' and the "yang" of the Kidney. It helps to cool and strengthen the body and also to warm and activate the body's energy. K3 reminds me of what "ashwagandha", the Ayurvedic herb, might look like as an acupuncture point (perhaps combined with DU 4 Mingmen).

I have found that K3 is very grounding and useful for patients who are anxious, flighty, too much "in their heads" or having uncontrollable thoughts. (To speak again in Ayurvedic terms, K3 pacifies Vata by increasing Kapha). I think these actions are due to K3 being both an earth point and the source point of the water channel (earth + water = kapha).

K3 is used as well for asthma rooted in deficient kidney qi; sore throat (esp due to yin deficiency); cooling empty heat; and strengthening the lower back and the knees; frequent urination due to kidney qi deficiency; fertility problems; sexual debility, fatigue due to depletion and insomnia.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Know Your Points 10: SI 3 Houxi (Little Stream)

SI 3 is a great point on the side of the hand (pinky finger side). It is usually located at the end of the crease that most people have in their palms, the "heart line" in popular palmistry (the transverse distal palmar crease). There is a marked depression at the point.

This point is used mostly for pain of the spine and neck. The line along the side of the palm going from the finger to the wrist has a strange affinity for the human spine. Needling SI 3 is effective for mid back pain and tension and pain in the neck, and can also be used as a supplementary point for any back pain.  Part of the explanation is that SI 3 opens up the DU meridian which runs along the spine.

SI 3 is also helpful for clearing pathogens in the early stage of infection, whether "wind-cold" or "wind-heat" (i.e. colds/flus of either hot or cold presentation).

SI 3 also helps to clear the mind and refresh the spirit.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Know Your Points 9: UB 60 Kunlun (Sacred Mountain)

This point, Kunlun, is named after the Kunlun mountain which is sacred to Chinese Daoists. The point is located in a depression between the achilles tendon and the lateral malleolus (the mound of the ankle on the outside of the foot).

This point is used as a supplementary point when treating back pain since its meridian, the Bladder (UB) meridian runs along the spine. This point can moderate energy flow and encourage healing aliong the whole spine. It is particularly useful for low back pain.

UB 60 is also useful for headaches associated with the UB meridian (especially along the back of the head or above the eyes). It is a "fire point" and can be used to cool inflammation along the UB meridian. Locally it is useful for treatment of injuries to the ankle or foot.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Know Your Points 8: Yintang

This wonderful point is a favourite of many acupuncturists (and patients). It is located between the eyebrows where a small, triangular indentation can be felt in the bone.

"Yintang" means "hall of the seal", which probably refers to a governmental location where documents were sealed- in other words, to a place where authority is exercised. This is very similar to the name of the "third eye" Chakra located in the same region- ajnya, which in Sanskrit means "command".

In Chinese medicine this point gives special access to the spirit. It is the location of the upper dantian (of the three main energy centres in the body). The upper dantian is said to give special access to the level of "shen" or spirit, which in this context refers to the psychic energy of the person.

Needling or pressing on Yintang calms the spirit, helping with anxiety, insomnia, agitation or being too much "in the head". It tends to gently send energy downwards. I have frequently found that very talkative and agitated patients become quiet and reticent to talk after this point is needled.

This point can also be used effectively to treat sinus congestion and allergies (allergic rhinitis).

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Know Your Points 7: DU 20 Bai Hui (One Hundred Meetings)

This important point is on top of the head, approximately on a line connecting the apexes of the ears. It is 5 cun (chinese anatomical inches) above the front hairline.

DU 20 can be used as an "add-on" to treatments to harminze them with the generaly meridian system.

DU 20 helps pacify headaches caused by Liver Organ problems (liver wind). DU 20 clears the senses and calms the spirit. It also helps to clarify consciousness.

DU 20 helps to strengthen spleen yang and therefore can help treat prolapse, ie. it pulls up energy in the body and therefore counteracts conditions of "sinking". It is also helpful for hemorrhoids, sometimes dramatically so.

For general weakness (qi and blood deficiency) DU 20 can be combined with ST 36, SP 6, and RN 4.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Know Your Points 6: HT 7 Shenmen (Spirit Gate)

HT 7 is located on the transverse crease of the wrist, at the ulnar end (the pinky finger end). There is a depression on the radial side of m. flexor carpi ulnaris tendon, ie. just above where the tendon can be felt. This point needs to be needled with precision. You can also access the point by needling below the m. flexor carpi ulnaris tendon (ie. coming in from the side of the wrist).

HT 7 is a wonderful point for regulating the Heart Organ system. It is used primarily for "calming the spirit" and treating psychic disturbances, irritability and anxiety. It can also be used to treat palpations, cardiac pain, and heat in the chest.

For the treatment of Insomnia HT 7 can be combined with SP 6 and Amnian.