If you’ve been around an Acupuncture classroom long enough, you’ve likely heard of the famous point combination ofter referred to as “the Four Gates”.  

LI-4 and LV-3

A Common Combination

It’s very common to combine these two points in Chinese medicine.  A strong combination to move Qi in TCM and often used for pain.  Clinically, it’s ideal for Liver Qi stagnation issues which often manifest as irregular or painful menstruation, with people experiencing high stress resulting in excess anger & frustration and for an array of pain problems.  

Anatomically Similar

Looking closely, you will notice that LV3 and LI4 are in the same location – just opposite limbs.  Both points are between the 1st and 2nd digits – LI4 on the hand and LV3 on the foot.  

Current Research

From a western medicine perspective, we know that LI4 can release endogenous opioids and helps relieve pain.  So much so that it is often referred to as the headache point.  LIV3 can impact the deep peroneal nerve and dorsals pedis artery – impacting peripheral circulation.  Put the two points together and you can treat pain and move blood – the very things some classic TCM texts say this combination can treat (move Qi and Blood, stop pain).

There is some interesting current research surrounding LV3 – a lot of it is on the treatment of hypertension.  A common clinical occurrence.  

Also, some are looking at LV3 and Parkinson’s disease.

This may seem random to some but for those with some TCM knowledge – it makes sense that the tremors one experiences with Parkinson’s could easily be classified as a “Wind” disorder in TCM.  Wind is often a result of Liver pathology. 

Common Clinically

The Four Gates are seen often in clinic.  They don’t need to be used together all the time but when you want to “move” things – it’s a great combo.  Be sure to check out my video on how to locate LI4 and LV3.  There are common location mistakes with both of these points.

Let me know your thoughts on this important Acupuncture point combination!  What conditions are you using it for?  How are your patients responding?  Looking forward to your input!