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 Traditional Chinese Medicine: The Principles of Therapy 

Houxi (SI 3) This point may be used for pain over the small intestine channel, especially pain from cervical syndrome that is referred to the scapular area.

Hegu (LI 4) This point may be used for pain over the large intestine channel and it is also a very important point for facial pain, headache and sinusitis.

Quchi (LI 11) This is often used as a distal point for referred pain from the shoulder or neck.

Waiguan (SJ 5) This is the most important distal point in the upper limb. If there is pain in the upper limb that is not on a channel then this point may be used. It is also used when there is pain over the Sanjiao channel.

Weizhong (UB 40) This point is used for low back pain, or any pain over the lower part of the urinary bladder channel.

Kunlun (UB 60) This point is used for upper thoracic, cervical pain or headache, i.e. pain over the upper part of the urinary bladder channel.

Yanglingquan (GB 34) This may be used for any pain over the gall bladder channel, such as migraine.

Neiting (St 44) This is used for pain over the stomach channel such as facial pain, abdominal pain or hip pain radiating down the front of the leg.

These are the most important distal points. For some diseases of 'hi' no distal points are used, and the common diseases where these exceptions apply are knee pain, ankle pain, wrist pain, hand pain and foot pain. In these diseases use only the local points as outlined in the prescriptions. Sometimes the local acupuncture points may not be tender until they are carefully examined.

Diseases of the Zang and Fu Organs
On the basis of traditional diagnosis the acupuncturist will be able to decide what organ is diseased and what pathogen is causing that disease. He will then know which channel to use to correct the problem, and whether to sedate or tonify a particular organ. He must also dispel the pathogen, for instance, in cases of cold, he will need to warm with moxa or cupping or both.

There are many different rules that can be applied in order to select a point for a particular disease, but an experienced acupuncturist will often select only a few points. Initially this will be very confusing to a beginner, but as more clinical experience is obtained then it will slowly become clear that experience is the basis of many prescriptions. There are no dogmatic rules governing point selection for the zang fu diseases but there are several groups of special points that represent each organ. The most therapeutically useful groups are discussed and listed.

Back shu and front mu points
These points represent the surface points of the organs, the mu points are on the front and the shu points are on the back. If the zang organs are diseased (yin organs) then the back shu points are particularly effective, and if the fu organs are diseased (yang organs) then the front mu points are useful.

The shu points can be alternated with points on the ventral surface of the body, as outlined in some of the prescriptions. The back shu points are particularly useful in treating a zang disorder when it is associated with back pain, primarily because the position of the patient for acupuncture is much simpler.

The back shu points are prefixed by the Chinese name for the organ, for instance pi means spleen and pishu is the back shu point for the spleen; wei means stomach and weishu is the back shu point for the stomach.

(Excerpted from Modern Chinese Acupuncture)
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 About The Author
George Lewith MA, MRCGP, MRCPGeorge Lewith attended Trinity College, Cambridge and Westminster Hospital Medical School. He has worked as a Senior House Officer and Registrar within the Westminster and University College Hospital Teaching Groups in......more
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