Graph Analysis Series #1: Getting Started with Your AcuGraph Results 5/5 (39)

Practitioners often ask advice on analyzing graphs.

My graph-analyzation skills have developed over time. As a new AcuGraph user, I questioned the graph. Then, I began trying to decipher the graph based on TCM patterns. Once I began teaching the Seminar Series, I really began to understand how the AcuGraph configures its analysis.

Now, I have multiple ways of analyzing the graph. I’ve found that with a little practice, you can learn a lot about a patient simply by looking at their graph. In today’s blog, I am going to walk you through my thought process as I analyze a graph.

The first thing that I look at is the baseline graph:

The questions that I ask for each new patient graph are:

  • What is happening in the upper-body channels?
  • What is happening in the lower-body channels?
  • Is there an imbalance between the upper and lower body which would cause me to consider treating the Dai Mai?
  • What kind of musculoskeletal problems might this patient be having?

For this patient:

  • I see an imbalance between the upper and lower body. Notice how the upper body channels are “mostly” higher than the lower body channels. I make a note to treat the Dai Mai (TE 5/GB 41). If you click on the Ratios Graph, you will see that my diagnosis is confirmed. This patient has a 25% upper/lower body imbalance.

    Look at the Body Balance
  • Next, I see that there may be some right-side shoulder pain for this patient. Notice that the SI, TE and LI are all more excess on the right than the left. I ask my patient if she is having right-side shoulder pain. Usually, in situations like these, patients answer yes–and are surprised that I can find shoulder pain by looking at the graph.
  • Excess in the lung catches my attention next, so I ask the patient if she has been sick or congested because of allergies. This patient just got over being sick and still had phlegm and congestion.


Next I look at the Yin/Yang Graph:

This is where I decide what my root treatment will be. If you want to learn more about this type of an analysis, I suggest that you purchase our Jake Fratkin Seminar Series. I’ll touch on a few basics here, but the seminar is filled with wonderful in-depth information.

  • The Yin channels are my focus. I want to sedate the LU and tonify the SP, HT, and KI. AcuGraph gives the suggested tonfication and sedation points.
  • On the yang side, I realize that the SI and the TE are the major focus. This goes back to my earlier diagnosis of shoulder pain. For this patient, I decide to add a shoulder treatment for her musculoskeletal pain after I tonify and sedate as listed above.


Now I look at the By Element graph:

I don’t spend a lot of time here, but I do take a quick glance. This graph tells me if I can use a Luo point instead of a tonification or sedation point. There is a rule in acupuncture that has to do with the Luo points. If you have excess in one channel and deficiency in the paired channel, you can use the Luo point of the low side to treat both channels.

Notice that the HT and SI are out of balance in this graph. The HT is low and the SI is split–but it is also on the high side. By treating the Luo point of the HT channel (because it is the lower of the paired organs), I can treat both channels with one point and get excellent results. For this patient, I would treat the HT Luo point (HT 5), instead of treating the tonification point of the HT.


Finally, there is one more chart that helps me to finalize my treatment strategy:

The Energy Cycle graph is one of my favorites! This analysis depicts how the energy is supposed to be flowing through the body. We were taught in school that the energy cycle begins in the lung and flows from channel to channel until it reaches the liver. Then it begins again in the lung. Sometimes this graph screams to tell you exactly where a blockage is causing chaos in the body.

For this patient, I notice the SI is causing a blockage in either side of the flow of energy. The SP and HT energy can’t flow into the SI because it is blocked. Notice also that the BL and KI are too low because of the blockage. I like to show the patient this chart, because it is easy for them to understand. I click on the SI channel and show them where the problem originates. This graph doesn’t change the treatment that I have already established from above, but it further confirms that this patient definitely needs some upper body musculoskeletal work to get everything flowing again.

I’ll be continuing with a series of graph-analysis blogs. Please add your own comments regarding the graphs in this series. Input shared from our team of AcuGraph practitioners will help us all to become better with our treatment strategies.

Have a great day!

If you want to learn more about Graph Analysis, check them here.

Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.

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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.

28 Replies to “Graph Analysis Series #1: Getting Started with Your AcuGraph Results

  1. Dear Kimberly,
    Thank you for sending this information. My question is: how long are you spending looking at these graphs to determine your tx strategy before actually getting started with needling?
    Thank you!

    1. Hello Carol,

      It only takes me a couple of minutes to analyze the graphs. I start with the first graph and write down whether or not I’m treating the Dai Mai. I look at the next points and choose my protocol based off of yin/yang channels. This is my initial treatment strategy. The third graph is a quick look to see if I can eliminate some of my previous thought process and choose a Luo point instead. The four graph helps me to see priorities. If I notice that the Liver channel or the Small Intestine channel are causing big problems, then I circle those channels to remind me that they are important priorities. Then–I’m inserting needles.

      Writing it all down and explaining my thought process makes it look a lot longer than it is. Really it doesn’t take long at all.

      Best regards~


      1. Saludos cordiales
        Tengo tres preguntas:

        1.- Cuando hago el tratamiento yin – yang, cual es la mejor recomendación?: trato la dficiencia yin luego el exceso yin y finalmente coloco los puntos complementarios o realizo de una vez al mismo momento en este orden
        2.- Los puntos deben colocarse siempre en forma bilateral?
        3.- Cual es su experiencia en el tratamiento de los puntos Acugraph con Laserneedle?


        Angel Orellana
        Best Regards
        I have three questions:

        1. When I treat yin-yang, which is the best recommendation? First I treat yin deficiency. Next I treat yin excess and finally I place the complimentary points or perform them at the same time and in this order.
        2. Should I always treat items bilateral manner?
        3. What is your experience in treating the points identified by the AcuGraph with a laser instead of needle?


        Angel Orellana

        1. Hello Angel,

          Yes, you are correct. First treat the yin deficiency, and then the yin excesses. At this point you can decide which points to treat next. Maybe you will treat musculoskeletal problems to deal with any Yang excess channels.

          I always treat bilaterally when treating the yin deficiencies or the yin excesses. After that, I might treat single sided to deal with a muscle problem. If I am adding in TCM points for pattern problems, I would treat those bilaterally also.

          Many of our practitioners get amazing results by treating with a laser instead of needles, unless I am working on children. I prefer to use needles myself, but I get phone calls and e-mails regularly from practitioners who use the laser and get great results.

          Best regards,

          Sí, estás en lo correcto. En primer lugar trata la deficiencia del yin, y después trata los excesos del yin. En este punto usted puede decidir qué puntos para tratar la siguiente. Tal vez va a tratar problemas musculoesqueléticos para hacer frente a los canales el exceso de Yang.

          Siempre trato bilateral en el tratamiento de las deficiencias de yin o los excesos del yin. Después de eso, podría tratar de una sola cara para hacer frente a un problema muscular. Si estoy añadiendo en los puntos de TCM para los problemas del patrón, yo trataría también los bilaterales.

          Muchos de nuestros profesionales obtener resultados sorprendentes en el tratamiento con láser. Yo uso las agujas, a menos que yo estoy trabajando con los niños. Yo prefiero usar agujas de mí mismo, pero me da las llamadas telefónicas y correos electrónicos con regularidad de los profesionales que utilizan el láser y conseguir grandes resultados.



  2. I would needle the end of the SI channel (SI-19) and the beginning of the BL channel (BL-1 or if that makes the patient nervous BL-2) to attempt to open the flow of the SI channel and get it moving into the BL channel.

  3. Hi Kimberly,
    I am still becoming acquainted with the technical (icons) set-up of the Acugraph and my business associates who are not acupuncturists are quickly catching on to performing the test using both source points and/or the jingwell under my guidance. I love your blogs and find the depth of explanation from a long standing user to be very insightful, keep up the good work!!!
    Just curious about your diagnosis in comparison to that suggested by the Acugraph, what’s your batting average? lol

    1. Hello Louella,


      The funny thing is, I spent the first year trying to come up with a TCM diagnosis and trying to analyze that within the AcuGraph. Channel theory is another very valid form of acupuncture. Shudo Denmei’s book, Meridian Therapy, is based on the exact same theory that I am presenting through the AcuGraph. In his book they teach you how to make the exact same diagnosis through the pulses. I find that the pulses match with the channel diagnosis. Why wouldn’t they, right? Pulses are supposed to be a representation of what is happening in the organ and channels.

      I have learned to treat what I find in the graph first. TCM then becomes the branch treatment. I know this is an odd concept to grasp, but once I made that change in my thinking, patients began getting better twice as fast. I had an instructor who taught Meridian style acupuncture in school. He swore that if you treated the exact excess of deficiency that you felt in the pulse first, that everything else would work out fine. He did explain t hat he always put more needles after that because that is what patients expected. But, he was convinced that the first couple of needles for tonification and sedation were really doing the job.

      Best regards~


  4. Hello Kimberly,

    When you see in the baseline analyses that the foot meridians are in excess and the hand meridians are deficient Is that also,a belt block?


    1. Yes, Peter, that would also be a belt block. Belt block is another name for the girdle vessel. The Chinese translation for the girdle vessel is the Dai Mai.

      The Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine makes these points about the Dai Mai:

      -The vessel that encircles the body at the waist.
      -The girdle vessel has no points of its own, but it intersects with three points on the GB channel–GB 26, 27 and 28.
      -This channel serves to bind up all the channels running up and down the trunk, thus regulating the balance between upward and downward flow of qi in the body.

      I hope this helps. I particularly like how the AcuGraph quickly shows this type of imbalance. When learning about it in college, without the AcuGraph, the main symptoms that I was taught to correspond with a Dai Mai imbalance were vaginal discharge, lower back pain, and “feeling like the person is sitting in a pool of water.” I was also taught that the Dai Mai goes in circles around the body so if someone has problems around their head or wrist or knee, that the Dai Mai would be an appropriate choice for treatment.

      With the addiction of an AcuGraph analysis, I find great benefit in treating the Dai Mai. It is hard to put the body into balance if there is a problem with the energy flowing from the upper to the lower body. The addition of TE 5 and GB 41 is a quick and easy fix that solves so many problems.

      Best regards~


  5. Kimberly,
    Thank you for doing this series on Graph Analysis, it is interesting and informative. Please keep them coming!
    Best Wishes,

  6. Amiga Kimberly, só tenho pena de nao me ser possivel comprar o Acugraph pelo que aqui descreve, é uma ferramenta muito util mesmo para a minha pratica de acupuntura Japonesa-Ryodoraku.
    adeus e obrigado.

  7. Kim- love these analysis blog posts! FYI- I seem to see a correlation with belt blocks and spinal disc herniations (I work in a chiropractic office). Have you noticed the same thing?

    1. Absolutely! When there is a disc herniation, it usually causes excess energy down the leg. Often this excess is seen in the GB channel. Think where the energy needs to go next, after the GB channel. That would be the LV channel–which would then go up the leg. The liver is in charge of moving energy all directions. It’s easy to see how a belt block would occur.

      When I see a disc herniation problem, I like to combine the Ren, the Du and the Dai Mai in the same treatment, along with treatment at the huatos along the spine where the blockage is occurring.


  8. IF this was a chronic problem, I would utilize the 5 element chart.
    First draw excess energy from LU to KiD , so as to make way for the energy that I would next encourage to flow from SI to HT and and then on to SP. TE could then also be encouraged to flow down stream unimpeded.
    Often Belt Blocks are acute or reoccurring problems. If acute, I would treat as Kimberly laid out. If reoccurring, I might treat as chronic.

  9. Please help me to clarify for myself… when you state “DU”, you are referring to the GV, and when you say “Ren” you are referring to the CV, is this correct? When you say “Huatos”… are you referring to paraspinal points along the bladder meridian?


  10. This is great, its so much helpful in diagnosing and giving better treatment. I need more information about Acugraph for my practice. Thanks

  11. Hi. Kimberly,

    I just started using AcuGraph. I found the prescriptions are different when you have different exam at the same day. Do you exam the patient for every single treatment even the patient comes in two times a week? Thank you!

    1. Hello Wendy,

      A graph analysis can change at any point in the day. If I have a patient who is running late for their appointment because they were stuck in traffic, or a patient who has been on the phone in a heated conversation with someone, then their graph will represent accordingly. It doesn’t matter why the graph is presenting accordingly, we always treat what we see on the graph first.

      I graph my patients each time they come in for treatment–whether it is one or two times per week, or even one time per month. I always graph first and treat what I find.



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