Tools in your toolbox… 5/5 (32)

Who needs more tools in their toolbox???

I use AcuGraph with every patient that comes into my office. As an acupuncturist with a TCM background, I find value in using pattern diagnosis as a tool in my own practice. I have also found that adding Chinese herbs helps patients get better faster.

Let’s talk about “Blood Stagnation.”

From a TCM point of view, a blood stagnation pattern presents with sharp stabbing pain that comes and goes and is worse with pressure, a choppy pulse, and a dusky tongue. Blood and Qi move together throughout the body. When there is stagnation in a channel, qi, and blood do not move the way they are supposed to which leads to pain from “Blood Stagnation.”

Once my diagnosis has been made, I have multiple tools to assist me in “fixing” the problem.

  • AcuGraph allows me to see blockages in the channel.
  • Acupuncture opens the blockages in the pathway.
  • Chinese herbs allow the body to keep blood and qi moving so the blockage doesn’t return.


AcuGraph is designed as a diagnostic tool to show how qi is moving through the body. I have found that with a blood stagnation pattern, the graph may present with a lot of splits or an extreme excess split in a particular channel.

When someone comes in complaining of right shoulder pain—often you may see a split in the Small Intestine channel with an excess on the right side. Or if someone comes in with low back pain that is worse on the right with pain radiating down the right leg—it is common to see a split in the Gallbladder channel with an excess on the right side.


That’s the simple part, right? Open the channel, get the blood and qi moving, and relieve the pain. The trick is keeping the channel open…

Chinese Herbs:

Acupuncture combined with an herbal formula for blood stagnation helps the patient to get better faster and keeps the blood and qi moving so they don’t have recurring pain.

My favorite herbal formula to use for Blood Stagnation is Xue Fu Zhu Yu Pian (507 LV).

This patient presented in my office after falling off of a ladder. He had had sharp stabbing pain that came and went in multiple areas of his body, but with palpitation, I found that it was more extreme on the left side. His pulse was choppy, his tongue was dusky. My initial diagnosis was qi and blood stagnation. He was only able to see me for one visit because he lived a long distance away. I treated locally with acupuncture and then sent him home with Xue Fu Zhu Yu Pian (507 LV) to help with the blood stagnation. He reported back that his pain continued to diminish as he finished his herbal prescription and that it didn’t return.


Xue Fu Zhu Yu Pian (507 LV) will NOT ONLY help the patient with their pain but they may also get many other benefits such as relief of other blood stagnation symptoms like headaches, chest pain, insomnia, restless sleep, palpitations, menstrual cramps, and a bad temper.


What happens next?  You have happy patients that are pain-free. When your patients are happy, they tell more people what a great job you did.  And then you get more new patients!  Why?  Because you have so many great tools in your toolbox.

Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.

P.S.  With any herbal formula you should know the contraindications which may affect your patients.  Xue Fu Zhu Yu Pian (507 LV) strongly activates blood circulation and is contraindicated in pregnancy, in cases of bleeding disorders, and for menorrhagia. Use caution with patients who are on anticoagulation therapy.

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Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac.

Dr. Kimberly Thompson, DACM, L.Ac. is a US licensed acupuncturist in the state of Idaho and certified in the treatment of acupuncture, Oriental medicine and Chinese herbology by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Kimberly wears multiple hats in the acupuncture community. She owns her private clinic, Meridian Family Acupuncture. She has spent the last 10 years working for Miridia Technology as an acupuncture Research Analyst–where she helps plan, develop, and integrate modern diagnostic and treatment tools for the ever-evolving scientific world of acupuncture. Kimberly is a world-renown teacher, blogger, columnist, and mentor in the acupuncture community.

8 Replies to “Tools in your toolbox…

    1. Dr. Meldman,

      We have herbs that are specific for strengthening the spleen which will help with weight loss. It is typical for an overweight person to have spleen deficiency and associated dampness in the body. Herbs to strengthen the spleen and eliminate dampness for a person with this pattern help to aid in weight loss. You may want to look at Xiang Sha Liu Jun Pian (205 SP). This formula supplements qi, strengthens the spleen and regulates the stomach.

      Our Auriculo PC program also has protocols to help with weight loss. Auricular therapy is a great way to deal with the psychoemotional aspect of a weight loss program.

      And of course–AcuGraph is also a valuable tool. A person with a balanced graph is going to do much better with weight loss than one who does not.


      1. Please define dusky tongue and choppy pulse… and in the acugraph presented in your post, is it the patter of multiple splits that has you lean toward blood stagnation? I have a patient that has multiple splits all the time… and he doesn’t seem to vary from that pattern. Are you saying that 507 LV might be indicated for him?

        1. In Traditional Chinese Medicine tongue and pulse are used for differentiating which pattern is presenting in the body. A dusky tongue is somewhat purplish in color.

          It takes years of practice to become accustomed to pulse diagnosis. A simple explanation would be that you are feeling the pulse with three fingers on both wrists. You want all three pulses on each hand to feel somewhat even. A choppy pulse would be when each of the three pulses are hitting your finger at different intervals.

          I would choose to prescribe Xue Fu Zhu Yu Pian if the patient had pain that was sharp and stabbing, a dusky tongue, and a choppy pulse. It has been my experience that patients with this type of presentation also have a lot of splits on their graph.


  2. I use JER acupuncture machine to treat my patients and sometimes i accomplish the treatment with local herbs(AFRICA)

So, what do you think about it?