As many of you know, I was a massage therapist for about a dozen years before I became an acupuncturist.
While I was in college to learn TCM, I was blessed with the opportunity to transform my massage clients into road maps of discovery. The walls of my treatment room were always covered with handmade pictures and notes of whatever I was studying at the time.
As my hands explored the acupuncture channels, my fingers discovered some amazing acupuncture treasures that go far and beyond the book knowledge I gained in the classroom. A lot of what I learned during that time, helped me to become a better practitioner.
One particular week I was learning about Entry/Exit Points.
Entry/Exit Points can be a little bit tricky. They are kind of like doorways that allow energy to move from one channel to the next.
It would be really easy if all entry points were the first point on the channel, and all exit points were the last point on the channel. Unfortunately, the rationalization for movement of qi is not always that cut and dry. Sometimes entry/exit points correlate to the first and last point on the channel, but not always. There are a few exceptions to the rule.
Imagine you are a little drop of energy and you need to work your way through the body. You’d begin your journey at Lung 1, then progress your way through the Lung channel. It would be common to think of exiting at the last point on the Lung channel, which is Lung 11; but this assumption is incorrect.
Here’s the tricky part. The exit point of the Lung channel is actually Lung 1! To further complicate things, instead of coming in through the door at Large Intestine 1 (which is the first point on the next channel), you are instead welcomed in at Large Intestine 4.
Several of the channels have tricky little things to remember. I had notes up on my wall so I could be prepared to know which ones were different for future tests. Since I’m much better at memorizing real examples, rather than a list of numbers, I started pondering this concept when massaging.
While massaging my client’s neck, I felt a big knot at Large Intestine 18 that just would NOT release. I knew several techniques for releasing neck tension, but this knot just didn’t want to budge; AND–I was running out of time.
Thoughts started rolling through my head.
“Large Intestine channel. It starts at Large Intestine 4 and ends at Large Intestine 20.”
“If I give a little pressure at Large Intestine 4, will the knot release?”
“Nope… That didn’t work.”
“Hmmm… I wonder what would happen if I pushed on Large Intestine 20 on the opposite side of my clients face.”
So, I went and put pressure at Large Intestine 20 on the opposite side of the face. Notice how the Large Intestine channel comes up and crosses over to the opposite side? I felt a lot of heat under my finger, and the patient noticed quite a bit of tenderness. After giving a pressure at Large Intestine 20 for about 30 seconds, the heat dissipated. I went back and rubbed my fingers across Large Intestine 18, and I was amazed…
That knot had “miraculously” melted like BUTTER!
That experience was extremely valuable to me. Entry/exit points should not be something you memorize for a test and then forget. They are hugely beneficial to your clinic.
If you have a patient who comes in with energy that is stuck in a particular channel and it’s just not releasing, try using an entry/exit point to open the doors so energy can easily flow into the next channel.
I use Large Intestine 20 quite often for neck pain or any pain along the Large Intestine channel. Another favorite of mine is Gallbladder 41 as the exit point for problems anywhere along the GB channel–headache, shoulder pain, rib-side distention, sciatic pain, and hip pain. Palpate for a blocked area. Go down and treat GB 41 and then go back and feel the difference. It’s like opening the floodgates. The patient feels immediate results as well.
I hope this little tidbit from my massage experience helps enhance treatment for your patients. I love to study and teach about acupuncture points. What magical tidbits have you learned along the way to alleviate pain? We would all love to learn from you as well. Click on the comments section below and enlighten us!
Be watching for my next blog, which will be coming soon… I’ve got more helpful tidbits to share!
Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.
Acupuncture Research Analyst