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.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

PC 6: Neiguan (Inner Gate)

Between the tendons of m. palmoris longus and m. flexor carpi radialis (the two palpable tendons on the inner forearm). 2 cun (anatomical inches) above the transverse crease of the wrist (approximately twice the width of the thumb of the patient).

PC 6 is a powerful point which is familiar to many from its use in reducing the nausea of of morning sickness (and motion sickness). Wrist bands containing a protrusion to stimulate the point are sold.

PC 6 is most commonly used to treat nausea. It is also used to "unbind the chest". Unbinding the chest refers to relaxing tension, moving stagnation, and easing pain and pressure in the heart and chest.

PC 6 can also help to reduce anxiety and irritability in some patients. Sometimes it can help with hiccups and is worth a try (press firmly on the point).

Despite its calming effect on some people PC 6 can also move emotional stagnation, and so may result in emotional release.

PC 6 is a powerful point and should be used with caution in sensitive patients.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Know Your Points: ST 36 Zusanli (Three Miles On The Leg)

ST 36 completes our journey through four points which are perhaps the most popularly used acupuncture points. ST 36 is located three finger breadths below the inferior, medial border of the patella (below the inside, lower corner of the knee cap). Off the border of the tibia, two finger breadths from the tuberosity (ie. just to the side of the bone). There is often a depression in the bone in line with the point. The location can be felt- there is a subtle change in the muscle tissue here.

ST 36 is used primarily for digestive problems. It can be pressed in cases of indigestion or any abdominal discomfort. ST 36 also stimulates the immune system and has been shown to increase white blood cell production.

ST 36 can also be used for any kind of weakness, low energy, or depression. It helps promote endurance and stimulates yang.  

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Know Your Points: SP 6 San Yin Jiao (Three Yin Meeting)

SP 6, another popular point, is located three finger breadths above the top of the medial malleolus (the mound of the ankle bone in the inside of the foot). Feel for a tender point close to the bone (on the posterior side, ie. away from the bone in the direction of the heel).

It is known as San Yin Jiao because it the place where the three "yin" channels of the leg meet and cross eachother. This is also means that this point, though mainly associated with the Spleen channel, also effects the Kidney and Liver channels.

SP 6 "tonifies yin" which means that it is relaxing and strengthens the systems of the body which nourish, cool and calm.

SP 6 moves energy downward and can be used to ground the mind. It also encourages menstruation  and can be used to regulate menstruation and ease PMS. SP 6 also encourages childbirth and is contraindicated in pregnancy except for labour induction. Shudo Denmei recommends SP 6 for malpresentation of the foetus and labour induction, particularly with moxa.

SP 6 has a mild effect in regulating digestion and can be usefully combined with ST 36, which has a stronger more yang effect on regulating digestion.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Know Your Points 2: LI 4 Hegu (Valley at the Union)

On the dorsum of the hand (the top). Between the first and second metacarpals (bones of the thumb and first finger). Halfway between the root knuckle of the first finger and the joint where the thumb and first finger meet. Close to the bone, where it is noticeably tender when pressed (on everyone).


LI 4 is a very popular point with many uses. It is the 'command" point for for the face and mouth, which means that it exerts a particularly strong influence on the jaw and side of the face. For this reason it is used for toothaches. It is also one of the most well known and frequently used points for headaches.


LI 4 is also used to relieve tension in the arm, shoulder, and neck. It can be used for relief in the early stages of a respiratory infection or in the case of a lingering pathogen. LI 4 can also be used for constipation, as it effects the Large Intestine organ system.


LI 4 is also used to induce labour. Although this is hardly like pressing a magic button and is sometimes treated with excess caution, it should generally be avoided in pregnancy.


LI 4 is combined with LV 3 to form the Four Gates, a treatment which unbinds tension throughout the body and releases blockages and constriction.