Acupuncture is a therapy that makes use of fine needles being inserted into acupuncture points in order to re-establish correct energy flow through the body’s meridians and to clear any energy blockages, which may cause illness or imbalance within the body. But what exactly are acupuncture points?
What are Acupuncture Points?
Acupuncture points or acupoints are locations on the body that are used by acupuncture, acupressure, sonopuncture and laser acupuncture during treatment sessions. There are several hundred acupuncture points that are distributed along meridians (or energy pathways) within the body as well as many other “extra points” that are not associated with a particular meridian. The theory behind these acupuncture points and their effectiveness is that they work by stimulating the meridian system in order to bring relief by rebalancing the yin, yang, and qi in the body.
The acupuncture points are located using a measurement unit called the “cun” that is calibrated according to their proportional distances from various landmark points on the body. There are nearly 400 basic acupuncture points, and some points are considered more therapeutically valuable than others. The points are referred to either by their traditional name or by the name of the meridian on which they are located, followed by a number to indicate what order the point is on the meridian. For example, one common point on the hand is called “hegu” and it is referred to as LI 4, meaning that it is the fourth point on the large intestine meridian.
Common Acupuncture Points
While there are many acupuncture points, there are some commonly used ones. These include:
- Large Intestine Meridian, point #4 of 20: LI4, Hegu: this is located on the back of the hand between the thumb and the index finger. It is mainly used to relieve pain and to treat constipation or other bowel disorders, but it is also used in the treatment of inflammatory and feverish diseases that have symptoms in the throat and head, as the large intestine meridian runs from the hand to the face.
- Lung Meridian, point #7 of 11: LU7, Lieque: this point is located above the wrist on the inside of the arm and it is used to treat disorders of the upper body including headaches, neck stiffness, coughs, asthma, sore throats, facial paralysis, and wrist problems.
- Stomach Meridian, point #36 of 45: ST36, Zusanli: this point is located on the front of the leg, just below the knee, and is used to help with digestive disorders such as nausea and vomiting, as well as general weakness.
- Spleen Meridian, point #6 of 21: SP6, Sanyinjiao: this point is located on the inner side of the leg just above the ankle, and although on the spleen meridian, which is useful for treating digestive disorders, it can also help with hormonal disorders, and immune disorders.
- Gallbladder Meridian, point #20 of 44: GB20, Fengchi: this point is located at the base of the skull where it joins the neck and is used in the treatment of acute disorders such as colds, flu, headache, neck pain, and fever. It also lowers blood pressure and relaxes tension in the area of the eyes.
- Liver Meridian, point #3 of 14: LV3, Taichong: this point is located on the top of the foot between the first and second toes and is useful for balancing emotional energy, regulating menstruation, reducing tension and pressure in the chest, treating eye disorders, alleviating headaches, and reducing high blood pressure.
- Pericardium Meridian, point #6 of 9: PC6, Neiguan: this point is located on the inner arm just above the wrist and it is useful for cardiac disorders, nausea, vomiting, spasms, and convulsions.
- Heart Meridian, point #7 of 9: HT7, Shenmen: this point is located on the outer side of the wrist and is used for a range of mental disorders such as absent mindedness, insomnia, disturbing dreams, hysteria, depression, agitation, and mental illness, as well as for the treatment of heart disease and fatigue.
- Urinary Bladder Meridian point #40 of 67: BL40, Weizhong: this point is located at the back of the knee and is used for the treatment of back pain, hip impairment, muscular atrophy, leg pain and immobility, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as much more.
- Kidney Meridian, point #3 of 27: KI3, Taixi: this point is located just behind the inner ankle and is used for several disorders in the body include sore throat, toothache, deafness, tinnitus, dizziness, asthma, thirst, insomnia, impotence, frequent urination, lower back pain, and menstrual irregularities.
- Triple Burner Meridian, point #5 of 23: TB5, Waiguan: the triple burner is a special type of organ system that spans the torso and this point is located on the outer side of the arm above the wrist. It is used for disorders of the fingers, hand, arm, neck, ears, cheek, and the top of the head.
- Small Intestine Meridian, point #3 of 19: SI3, Houxi: this point is located at the side of the hand below the little finger and it is used for treating mental disorders, stiffness and pain in the neck, chest and lumbar region, seizures, night sweats, and fevers.
- Governing Vessel, point #20 of 28: GV20, Baihui: this point is located at the top of the head and it traditionally used in the treatment of various mental disorders as well as for problems that occur in the head. It is also used to treat prolapse.
- Conception Vessel, point #4 of 24: CV4, Guanyuan: this point is located below the navel and is used for all types of lower abdominal disorders such as urination problems, hernia, menstrual disorders, gynaecological infections, diarrhea, rectal prolapse and so on.
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