When I was in college, I had a professor who used to tell me that she was a “lazy” acupuncturist. She had acupuncture points that she used regularly with her patients that worked, and she got really great results. Therefore she didn’t see a need to continue to come up with new and improved acupuncture points.
If a particular point works time and time again, why reinvent the wheel—right?
I am a bit of a points nerd and I love to read about the functions and indications of acupuncture points. What I have found over the years is that there are certain individual points and combinations that authors reference time and time again in their text. These points, known as Cardinal or Empirical points, have emerged through the years because they yield excellent clinical results.
One of my favorite references for these points is found in our very own AcuGraph Reference section.
From inside AcuGraph simply click on Reference –> Charts –> Cardinal Points.
We have had a lot of discussion lately about balancing the graph as a root treatment and then adding in key points for a branch treatment. Simply balancing the graph takes care of at least 80% of my patients’ complaints. Everything else I take care of as a branch treatment. Here are some examples of how I use Cardinal/Empirical points after I have chosen points to balance their graph:
Arm Pain: Large Intestine 11 and Triple Energizer 5
- Whenever there is arm pain of any kind, I always find these points to be tender. They are both important big qi moving points on the channel. I get really good results when using e-stim on this combination of points. You can’t go wrong moving qi and blood in both channels to alleviate arm pain.
Sexual Organs: Spleen 6
• I love Spleen 6. This is a crossing point for the Liver, Kidney, and Spleen channels. I use this as a branch treatment for an array of complaints such as
menstrual disorders, low libido, enlarged prostate, etc. It is nice when you can affect three channels with one needle.
Scapula: Small Intestine 11
- ANY – SHOULDER – PAIN. In the chart we refer to this point pertaining to anything to do with the scapula. I think that any shoulder pain involves the scapula. This is the only point that I am aware of that relieves tension in the subscapularis–that pesky muscle that is under the scapula and causes so much pain. It is also good for someone who has shoulders that are hunched forward and moms with breastfeeding problems.
- Here is another little helpful tidbit. Small Intestine 12, which is just above the scapular spine is a crossing point for the Large Intestine, Small Intestine, Triple Energizer, and Gallbladder channels. I also like to add Small Intestine 12.
Emotions and Anxiety: Heart 7
- Why do you think Heart 7 is so powerful? The Chinese name for Heart 7 is Shen Men–which means “opens the mind’s door.” One of my instructors said that it was the best point to calm the mind when there is great anxiety and worrying under stressful situations. He also said that it can be used for impotence in men and lack of sexual desire in women. This makes sense because usually sexual disorders have an emotional component.
- Heart 7 is the sedation point for the channel but let’s not forget that it is also the source point, which means it can be used to either tonify or sedate because it is self-regulating. Heart 7 is my point of choice for any imbalance in the heart channel.
Pulse/Blood Vessels: Lung 9
- Heart 9 is right next to the radial artery. The radial artery hooks up with the brachial artery and is the main artery which supplies blood to the arm. Deadman states that that Lung 9 “regulates and harmonizes the one hundred vessels.” Whenever I have a patient that has a really weak/sluggish pulse, I like to add Lung 9 to his/her treatment. Sometimes you can simply press on lung 9 and feel the strength and quality of the pulse immediately increase. Lung 9 becomes the icing on the cake during treatment if I am struggling with a sluggish pulse.
If you have a particular day where you are feeling a little nerdy like me, then take some time to dig out your text books and read about Cardinal/Empirical points.
There is a ton of interesting reading.
This reference section is just ONE of the many ways using the AcuGraph has helped me in my practice. Don’t own one yet? Watch this video and see if it’s for you!
I’d love to hear what your favorite acupuncture points are and how you are incorporating them. I don’t consider myself a “lazy acupuncturist” but I have found that if others are using great points and getting good results then I might as well follow suit.
I hope that your week is fabulous and, as always, I love to hear your feedback.
Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.
Acupuncture Research Analyst
Miridia Technology Inc.