Graph Analysis Series #2: Why I like each Graph 5/5 (38)

I hope that you are enjoying our new series on Graph Analysis. These posts are designed to be an interactive, learning opportunity. I have developed my own style for interpreting the graphs based on the 12 seminar DVD series, Dr. Fratkin’s Seminar and my own clinical experience.

I’m counting on input from YOU! We have all developed our own little bit of insight through experience in our own clinics. By sharing graph-analysis and treatment strategies, we will be benefiting the entire AcuGraph community.

There are four graphs that I like to review when analyzing treatment for my patient: Baseline, Yin/Yang, By Element, and Energy Cycle. In my last blog, Graph Analysis Series #1, I shared my thought process for each graph. Today, I won’t get into details explaining why I like each graph. I’ll just jump in and start analyzing.




Usually, I look for a Dai Mai problem on the baseline graph, but I didn’t necessarily see one this time. But, I am questioning whether or not this patient has some issues going on in the lower body.

Reality: She is female and she is menstruating.




What the yin side tells me…

First I look at the yin side. The most important channels for treatment are the yin channels. I learned from Dr. Fratkin that if you treat the yin channels then the yang will follow. But–he also taught me to treat the yin deficincies first and then the yin excesses. On this graph, I am going to take some creative liberties to analyze beyond what the AcuGraph is telling me.

You will notice, according to the AcuGraph, that there are not any low channels on the yin side. We see a lot of red and green, but not any blues. I’d like to argue that the LU and the LR are both low. AcuGraph has a certain ratio in which an excess and a deficiency is calculated. Obviously, on this graph, the LU and the LR didn’t make the cut. But that’s okay. I’m going to treat both of those channels as deficient anyway. I write down the points that I’m considering treating.

  • LU tonification point: LU 9
  • LR tonificaton point: LR 8
  • SP sedation point: SP 5 is what the AcuGraph suggests. I like to use the xi cleft point when sedating the SP channel so I write down SP 8.
  • KI sedation point: KI 1 is what the AcuGraph suggests. My favorite point to sedate the kidney channel is KI 3. Source points can be used for tonification or sedation.

*Note: To learn how to analyze different points for tonification and sedation, I highly recommend the Dr. Jake Fratkin Seminar Series.


What the yang side tells me:

The BL is deficient and so is the LI. I ask my patient about bloating, and constipation.

The ST channel is excess. I ask my patient about acne, ravenous hunger, acid reflux and digestive upset.

Reality: She had just had a big weekend of eating a lot of extra food. She is constipated and has acid reflux.


By Element:


Notice on this chart the Kidney is excess and the bladder is deficient. I can take care of both of those problems by simply treating Luo of the bladder–BL 58. That also takes care of my earlier concern regarding treating the sedation point of the kidney. I love treating BL 58 because it also relaxes all of the muscles in the back.

Notice also that the SP and ST are both excess. Once I treat the sedation points for the SP/ST, I think that I’ll add in some TCM points to regulate the SP/ST function. My favorites are SP 6, ST 36 and CV 12. I’ll probably also add in a ST 44 to clear excess heat out of the ST channel.


Energy Cycle:


I really love looking at this chart, because it shows how the energy is supposed to be flowing. Notice in this graph how the deficiency in the LI channel is stopping the flow of movement into the ST and SP channels. The best point for tonifying the LI channel is LI 11. In TCM, I was taught that LI 11 is used for clearing heat. It has been my experience that deficiency in the LI channel leads to excess in the LI channel later. Luckily, we are getting things moving by adding extra focus on the SP/ST channels, but it won’t hurt to add in LI 11 to expedite the process.


Final treatment: 

I didn’t want to tell you her chief complaint earlier, because I want to emphasize how important it is to analyze where the imbalances are in the body first and then treat the chief complaints after the fact. Most of the time, balancing the graph takes care of 80% of the patient’s problem.

She came in complaining of emotional turmoil, acid reflux, and hives. She has chronic hives which manifest all over her body at times, but on this day they were mostly on her legs.

Here is how I treated.

Yin channel problems: LU 9, LR 8, SP 8.  *I took care of the Kidney excess below.

Yang channel problems: ST 44

Element treatment:  BL 58 (*This took care of the KI and BL), and SP 6, ST 36, CV 12.

Energy cycle additions: LI 11

**I would like to emphasize that you can simply treat the tonification and sedation points suggested by the AcuGraph and get very good results. This analysis is meant for those who want to dig a little deeper and analyze the graph with a more advanced mindset.

Don’t forget to add your thoughts. Your feedback will help guide the direction of how this series progresses.

Have a great week!

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.

22 Replies to “Graph Analysis Series #2: Why I like each Graph

  1. Good stuff. It’s a great initiative to discuss live case studies. Much appreciated brain candy. The Luo point for the intra element imbalance was something new for me. I have a client who has a constantly skewed Ki-Bl energy despite treatment. Hope to use your tips in tackling that. Thank you.

    p.s. The graph pic under “the element” is that of the yin-yang channels. Would be good if you can fix that.

  2. Oh really, I didn’t know that. So in one of the acugraph forums it is recommended to balance the jing well graph first and then the source, do you ever do this or find it useful?

    Also this weekend I had my first public screening and it went really well thank to your 1st graph analysis blog. I was able to talk about pain as it related to the meridians based on what you had said. I also noticed and I’m curious to know if anyone else has come upon this that, when there are numerous splits and the majority of them are leaning towards on side or another (ie. most left sides are more deficient) then the pain will be on the deficient side. It seemed as though this pain was more tension and tightness as opposed to sharp acute pain but none the less it was a very cool observation.

    1. Hi Paula,
      I find that when the are a lot of splits, from a pain perspective, the side that is high is representive of sharp, spasmy, acute pain. Where the low side may indicate numbness, tingling, achy, chronic issues. If there are more than five splits and there seems to be no pattern you can bet your patient is either sick or highly stressed and/or anxious.

  3. Sometimes I notice that the painful side is the deficient side, but more often the excess side will be the painful one. When I “guess” by looking at the graph I always ask the patient if they are having pain on one particular side, based on what I see.

    If I’m wrong, then I lean on the fact that deficiency in a channel can also cause pain.


  4. Eu sou Licenciado em MTC pela Univ. Med.Chinesa em Portugal e Tenho o Curso (diploma) de Ryodoraku realisado no Funada pelo Mestre TOSHIO FUNADA Ryodoraku Isntituto em Portugal e só fazemos as leituras nos pontos do Dr.Yoshio Nakatani!…A leitura noutros pontos terá a mesma fidelidade para a realização de outro gráfico? Até breve…..

  5. I like these pointers, Kimberly. One source of confusion – in blog #1 you pointed out a blockage ion the energy flow cycle because there was an excess in some meridians followed by a deficiency in meridians that followed. Here you are saying that the deficiency in LI is causing an accumulation in ST/SP which follow. That doesn’t make sense to me, either through energy flow dynamics or Five Elements shen cycle. What am I missing?

    1. Hello Marty,

      I was a massage therapist for a dozen years before I was a acupuncturist. I have found that if there is a weakness in a channel–meaning that the channel isn’t doing it’s job, then there can be an accumulation of energy in the next channel. Imagine that the ST/SP are not really excess, but instead they just aren’t getting the support (or push) from the LI channel that is needed to create the proper flow of energy.

      Think about someone working on an assembly line. The person named LI isn’t doing his job up to the fullest capacity because he is deficient. The job of LI is important for ST/SP to do it’s job correctly. Because the LI isn’t working at full capacity, then the LI is getting backed up in work. It not necessarily that ST/SP are really excess, it just that the LI isn’t pulling his weight and making the ST/SP look like they aren’t doing their job.

      You could look at the graph and see ST/SP as an excess. But my argument would be that sometimes it is the problem of the weakness that is further up the channel.

  6. HI Kimberly,

    In the acugraph forum it is recommended to treat the jing well points first and then focus on source. Can you explain why this may or may not be the way to go, or from your own experience, why treating the source graph is better?


    1. I think that this is a matter of preference Paula. If you had a patient who had a lot of problems, you could begin narrowing down the problems by first focusing on the Jing Well Point recommendations. I personally do not treat that way. I really like to treat based on the source point exam. I tell my patients that it will take a series of 4 consistent treatment to work with the layers of problems that present. The presentation will change week by week, and I let them know this right up front.

      I feel that I get better results with a source point analysis.

  7. Dear Kimberly,

    Can you tell me the points to sedate and tonify the yin channels that you prefer?

    Thanks for the analysis

    1. Hello Paula,

      Xi cleft points can also be used as sedation points. A xi cleft point strongly moves qi in the channel which helps to eliminate pain. This is the same concept of sedation.

      You can also use the source point as either a sedation or tonification point because the source points are self-regulating.

      For the Spleen channel I like to take extra liberties in choosing tonification and sedation points. I really don’t like to needle Spleen 2 (tonification) or spleen 5 (sedation). I get really great results by using Spleen 3 (source) for tonification and Spleen 8 (xi cleft) for sedation. Try palpating Spleen 8 the next time you have excess in the spleen channel. It is always very tender and reactive.

      Best regards~


  8. That’s a great way to look at it. I’ll definitely try it, I’m not big on SP5 either.

    Thanks for the explanation.

  9. Hola,por favor digame si en venzuela ustedes tienen diistribuidor de acucraph 4,estoy interesada,donde puedo comprar uno,y quie me da la informacion de su uso, EN ESPAÑOL, VIVO EN MERIDA,VENEZUELA, MI CELULAR ES 0416-6032241..GRACIAS,,

    1. Sujaila,

      Gracias por su interés en el AcuGraph. Tenemos un sitio web en español y un distribuidor en Venezuela. Voy a enviar su información a él, y por favor, póngase en contacto con él directamente, así.
      Sara de González: el correo electrónico

      También hablo español, así que no dude en comunicarse conmigo directamente con cualquier pregunta que pueda tener.

      Alan Gifford

So, what do you think about it?