There are believed to be twelve front mu acupuncture points. They are said to be located on the chest or the abdomen. Like the back shu acupuncture points, they too are paired with zang or fu. They are located almost directly opposite to the back shu acupuncture points (close to where the organs are located anatomically). They are said to be located where qi gathers.
There are believed to be twelve back shu acupuncture points. Each of these acupuncture points are said to elated to one of the zangfu. As their name suggests, they are acupuncture points which are located on the back. More specifically, they are located on the urinary bladder channel anatomically near the zang or fu in which they share a relationship.
There are believed to be fifteen luo connecting acupuncture points. There is one on each of the twelve primary acupuncture channels. There are also one luo connecting acupuncture point on two of the extraordinary acupuncture channels, these being the Du Mai and Ren Mai acupuncture channels. In addition, there is also the great luo acupuncture point of the spleen.
Yuan source acupuncture points are beloved to be located on each of the twelve primary acupuncture channels. They are located in areas where it is said the qi surfaces along the acupuncture channels. On the yin acupuncture channels, the yuan source point is the same as the shu stream acupuncture point. These yin yuan source acupuncture points said to play an important role in strengthening and regulating the zang organs. The xi cleft acupuncture points on the yang channels are located between the shu stream points and the jing river points. This means in the majority of cases, the xi cleft points are the fourth or fourth last acupuncture points on each of the respective acupuncture channels.
Xi cleft acupuncture points are believed to be found on each of the primary acupuncture channels. They are located where it is said qi and blood flows superficially along the acupuncture channels. This is implied by the Chinese word “xi” as it means a cleft or crevice.
Within the essences of Traditional Chinese Medicine theory there is the underlying assumption of there being one of five elements in the nature of all things. These elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The theory suggests natural phenomenon moves in sequence through each of the states of these five elements. This is suggested by the analogy of wood allows fire; after fire there are coals, which become part of the earth; the earth then creates metal etc.
Acupuncture theory has used the five phase model and in turn developed a system of acupuncture point prescription based on the theory. Each of the five shu points is assigned to either one of the elements.
On the yin acupuncture channels: jing well acupuncture points are said to represent wood; ying spring points represent fire; shu stream points represent earth; jing river points represent metal; and he seas points represent water. On the yang acupuncture channels: jing well acupuncture points are said to represent metal; ying spring points represent water; shu stream points represent wood; jing river points represent fire; and he sea points represent earth.
There is a famous ancient acupuncture text called the “Classic Difficulties”. This book introduces and explains how five phase theory can be used in the practice of acupuncture. This theory is consistent with the sequence of one element being born out of another. It suggests shu acupuncture points can be manipulated to create a therapeutic response consistent with the shu points either side of them on the acupuncture channel. The theory poetically states that in cases where a deficiency is present to reinforce the mother thereby in turn strengthening the son (or the next shu point on the acupuncture channel). In contrast for cases of excess, reduce the child which in turn will absorb the excess of the mother (the previous shu point on the acupuncture channel).
For example the lungs pertain to metal. On the lung channel, the metal point is the ying spring acupuncture point (which is lung 8 or Jingqu). To treat a case of lung deficiency a five phase acupuncture treatment would strengthen the mother (lung 9 or Taiyuan), and to treat a case of excess in the lungs the water point (lung 5 or Chize) would be reduced.
There are believed to be five shu acupuncture points on each of the primary acupuncture channels. They are considered to be important in the process of formulating an acupuncture point prescription. They are all located on the limbs either distal to the elbow or distal to the knees. It is in these areas where qi is said to flow with a very dynamic nature. The shu acupuncture points are further classified as being either jing well, ying spring, shu stream, jing river or he sea. Generally speaking, these classifications are based on the seasonal application of the acupuncture points as well as the symptoms they treat.
Jing River Acupuncture Points
The jing river acupuncture points are located on or near the ankles or the wrists. They are located in the areas where the qi is said to flow.
He Sea Acupuncture Points
The he sea acupuncture points are located close to the elbow or the knee joints. They are located on areas where it is said the qi enters inwards. There are fifteen he sea acupuncture points because the large intestine, small intestine and the san jiao all have additional he sea acupuncture points on the leg called lower he sea points.
Most conventional acupuncture points are said to lie on either of the primary acupuncture channels. Within each of the primary acupuncture channels there are believed to be specific acupuncture points which have certain characteristics. The characteristics of these acupuncture points are consistent across each of the respective primary acupuncture channels. A system of classification was devised which groups acupuncture points together according to these shared characteristics. These acupuncture point classifications are the five shu acupuncture points, the five phase acupuncture points, xi cleft acupuncture points, yuan source acupuncture points, luo connecting acupuncture points, and back shu and front mu acupuncture points.
There are fifteen luo connecting acupuncture channels in the body. They are said to branch out from their respective twelve primary acupuncture channels. They also believed to branch out from two of the extraordinary acupuncture channels as well as the great luo connecting channel of the spleen. Each of the luo connecting acupuncture channels start at the luo acupuncture point on each of the acupuncture channels. They spread superficially around the body and join with the paired acupuncture channel and then continue to carry along their own pathway. Refer to the luo connecting acupuncture points for more information.
The eight extraordinary acupuncture channels are said to branch out from the twelve primary acupuncture channels. Their main role is believed to link the primary acupuncture channels. Six of these channels do not have acupuncture points, though two of these channels do possess acupuncture points. The functions of the eight extraordinary acupuncture channels are as follows:
The extraordinary acupuncture channels in theory act as a reservoir for excess qi and blood which is not in the primary acupuncture channels;
They are said to link the twelve ordinary acupuncture channels;
They also said to carry out the function of protecting the body from pathogens and disease.
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