Sometimes, points located on specific areas on the body have generalized point actions.
Here are the top 3 acupuncture point generalizations which will not only help you remember your points faster, you’ll also choose points with more relevance and and have better patient outcomes – all leading to you becoming a better acupuncturist!
Let’s look at the first group:
Points around the elbow – Clearing Heat
Have you noticed?
Points around the elbow crease or cubital crease – all clear heat from their respective organs!
Lung Heat in your diagnosis? Lu5 is the best choice. Heart Heat in your diagnosis? Heart 3 (located just at the medial end of the cubital crease with the elbow fully flexed). LI11 (located on the lateral end of the cubital crease when the elbow is fully flexed) actually clears heat in general for all organs – its also great for heat manifesting as skin problems – presenting as red, dry skin rashes.
We also have PC 3, SI8 and SJ10 – all have the same Heat clearing action – although clinically used less than the previously mentioned points.
So if you need to clear Heat from an organ which resides on one of the Hand meridians – a great option is a point from the elbow crease.
On to the next group!
Points around the knee – Drain Dampness
Just like the elbow, the points around the knee can be generalized for the function of draining Dampness.
SP9, ST36, GB34, LV8 and KD10 all have very strong functions of draining Dampness.
SP9 is one of the most popular points for this action. *remember, the SP transforms and transports Dampness so SP9 is very common clinically.
KD10 drains dampness when the Dampness is mostly creating urinary symptoms.
GB34 drains Dampness which typically shows as Dampness from the genitals (discharge, infections etc.).
LV 8 is very popular for tonifying LV Blood but it also drains Dampness from the genital area.
The only outlier here is UB40 – it doesn’t have as many Dampness related actions. However, it has a lot of other common clinical actions like cooling the Blood and is a must do for any type of back pain – being the Command point of the back.
If you’ve got Dampness to deal with, consider the points around the knee – especially if that Dampness is directly related to an organ whose channel resides in this area.
On to the final group.
Last two points at the fingers and toes – Clears Heat
There’s another special group of points which clear Heat in TCM – the last 2 points at the fingers and the toes.
Often referred to as the Jing-Well and Ying Spring points. All of these points clear Heat from their respective organ as well.
Think of some of these points, LV1 & LV2, SP1 & SP2, KD2, ST44 & 45, GB43 and 44 – all extremely popular points to clear Heat from their organs – particularly excess Heat (except for KD, there is no excess KD issue in TCM – just deficiency Heat).
Excess LV Fire? Definitely choose LV2. Deficiency Heat in the KD? KD2 should be one of your points. Fire in the ST – ST44 will clear that Fire.
Same with points at the fingers – HE8 and 9, PC8 and 9, LU10 and 11, LI1 and 2, SJ1 and 2, SI1 and 2 all clear Heat – some are more common clinically than others but they all have this ability. And its so easy to remember!
Now, let’s talk about the points at the corner of the nail beds…they all clear Heat as well but they are so sensitive!
A three edged needle is the traditional method for needling these points. However, for better sanitation and proper clean need technique, I suggest using a lancet – the same one you would use to test blood sugar. you can even adjust the depth that the lance goes. Creating less discomfort and more consistency with your depth.
So – points at the elbow crease – clear Heat, knee points – resolve Dampness – last two points at the fingers and toes – clear Heat as well.
Remember these tips when you’re in clinic or doing a case assignment and you are certain to impress your clinic coordinator.