Here is a common problem Acupuncture and Naturopathic students don’t often think about when it comes to ST36. 

It doesn’t have anything to do with locating ST36 incorrectly but it is something that I think every practitioner should be doing prior to needling this common point. 

If you’ve had ST36 needled on yourself correctly, the sensation is quite memorable – especially for those who are new to the acupuncture experience.  The sensation is often deep, achey, may refer down the leg and generally invokes the classic “DeQi” sensation we acupuncturists are generally looking for.

I see many new Acupuncture or Naturopathic graduates neglect to communicate to their patient how this point might feel when it is needled.  To a first time acupuncture client, the sensation of ST36 can be very unusual and and sometimes, pretty intense.  It’s up to you as a caring and confident acupuncturist to properly communicate to your patient about what to expect when it comes to needle sensation.

If you don’t, they might think that what you are doing is harmful or incorrect – especially if other points you’ve already needled felt nothing like what they are now feeling with ST36. 

Now you don’t have to scare people – just calmly let them know that this point sometimes creates a deeper, achey sensation compared to other points and that it is totally normal.  We Acupuncturists like the deep and achey – just let your patients know we don’t like sharp and pinchy – especially if that sharpness lasts for more than 30 sec.  Ideally, you want your patient to say it feels “weird” – this is the most common response I get.

To ensure patients have an enjoyable and positive acupuncture experience, let your patients know what they might expect when it comes to needle sensation BEFORE you needle the point – particularly with points like ST36.

To find out the other tips related to ST36 – check out my video – 3 Common “Problems” with Acupuncture Point ST36