Acupuncture Point Categories

Acupuncture points are each given their own special functions as they relate to a variety of different systems that together make up “Traditional Chinese Medicine” (TCM). Lets take a closer look at these.

The five transporting points system is defined as “the flow of qi in the channels using a river analogy, and ascribes function to points along this flow line according to their location.” The five transporting points system explains qi as a substance that bubbles up from a spring and gets larger in both width and depth and eventually resembles a river that is flowing in a downward direction from a mountain and into the ocean.

Jing-well

Jing-well points specifically are the area where the qi ends up bubbling upwards. The jing-well points are always without fail the last points on the channels of the yin or otherwise the first points according to where the channels of yang are located.

With one exception, the Kid-1 YongQuan, all other points can be found on the tips of both fingers as well as toes of both hands and both feet.

Jing-well points are often used in relation to the abdomen or the “epigastric or hypochondrium region.” As well jing-well points describe disorders that occur in the “zang organs” which are the organs that are ruled by the yang or the masculine component.

Ying-spring

Moving right along, the ying-spring points are the location where the qi is able to effectively glide or slide down the channel in question. Ying-spring points are connected with changes that take place in the complexion as well as heat that is needed to keep the body warm.

Shu-stream

Shu-stream points are the location where the qi pours down the channel in much the same way rain pours from the sky. Shu-stream points have to do with pain and discomfort in the tendons and joints as well as intermittent kinds of diseases and a feeling of heaviness in the body as if it is being pulled down.

Jing-river

Jing-river points are the location where the qi is able to flow down from the channel. Jing-river points have to do with many respiratory problems as well as fever and chills, coughs and dyspnoea, diseases that take place in the bones and sinews and finally health problems that affect the vocal cords and serve to alter a persons way of speaking.

He-sea

He-sea points describe the area where the qi comes together and collects on the surface and from here it starts to make its way deeper into the interior of the human body. He-sea points have a great deal to do with digestive functions and come about often due to irregular eating and drinking patterns as well as diarrhea and the “counter flow of qi.”

Next we will look at the five phase points, the xi-cleft points, the yuan-source points, the luo-connecting points, the back-shu points, the front-mu points and the hui-meeting points. It is important to note what each one of the points is linked to in relation to the human body.

Five Phase Points

The five phase points connect all five elements of earth, fire, metal, water and wood to each of the five points of transporting. The jing-well points are wood points that show up on the yin channels while fire describes the ying-spring points and the shu-stream points happen to be earth.

Two other points on the yin channels are jing-river points and he-sea points. The former is metal while the latter represents water. Turning the channels that relate to yang, the he-she points are earth while the jing-river points represent fire. The jing-well points correspond to the metal element while the ying-spring points are water.

Finally the shu-stream points correspond to wood. All of the categories of points listed here, are then integrated into the “Five Phase” theory and from there they are used to help determine how to treat various diseases.

Xi-cleft Points

The xi-cleft points are the position on the channel where both the blood as well as the qi come together and once connected, make their way further into the human body. These points are particularly relevant when it comes to health situations that are acute as well as the conditions that cause a great deal of pain.

Yuan-source

The yuan-source points are placed on the channel from a place where the yuan qi can easily be reached. The luo-connecting points are to be found on the channel where there is a diverging of the luo meridian. There are 12 meridians and each of these is in possession of a luo point.

Each luo point is able to diverge from what is considered to be the main meridian. As well there are three extra luo channels and these all diverge at three separate locations, which are the Ren-15, the Du-1 and the Sp-21.

Back-shu

The back-shu points can be found on the paraspinal muscles that lie on both sides of the spine, across from each other. According to Chinese theory, the qi that stands for each organ of the body is delivered back and forth from the back-shu points and these can be very easily influenced by the presence of them.

The front-mu points can be found in close proximity to the organ they correspond to. These points do have an effect on the organ but in no way do they affect the channel in question.

Hui-meeting

Finally, the hui-meeting points are unique in that they are theorized to be able to have a “special effect” on specific bodily organs as well as tissues. The name of each point and the organ(s) they correspond to are as follows: B111 Da Zhu (bone), B1-17 Ge Shu (blood), GB-39 Xuan Zhong (marrow), Ren-17 Shang Fu (qi), Ren-12 Zhong Fu (fu organs), Lu-9 Tai Yuan (vessels), Liv-13 Zhang Men (zang organs) and Gb-34 Yang Ling Quan (sinews).

Illustration courtesy Wellcome Images- Creative Commons License