Acupuncturists diagnose human illness in terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which perceives the human organism and it’s processes as flows of Qi or energy; somewhat like the currents, eddies and swirls in a stream or lake. The major currents are called channels or meridians or in Chinese: jing luo.Twelve of the channels connect with organs in the trunk.
Each of the twelve is named for the organ with which it connects. The organ channels and two other channels which follow the front (Ren channel) and rear (Du channel) midline of the body contain the acupuncture points. The names, locations and usages of the points vary with the specific school or nationality of acupuncture. Proper rate of flow and amount of Qi in the channels is the OM definition of health. The acupuncture points are needled to restore or maintain the flow.
Each of the acupuncture points has specific effects on the different currents and/or organs of the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are at least seven very commonly used groups of acu-points.
There are five transporting points on each channel. They begin at the fingers and toes and stop at the elbows and knees. Beginning at the finger or toe tip, they’re named Well, Spring, Stream, River, Sea. At each point the flow of the Qi resembles that of the body of water it’s named for. At the Well point the flow is slender and thin. The Spring point flow is larger and has direction. At the Stream point the current has depth and more width. The River is wider and deeper yet. And the Sea points are the widest and deepest. The Sea point is also where the Qi goes deep into the body and connects with the organs.
The Five Element points begin at the finger and toe tips. Each set of points begins with the names of Wood or Metal and continues up the arm or leg until all five elements are represented. The Five Element relationships are key to selection of the points in treatment.
There is one Yuan-Source point on each organ channel. This point will release Source Qi in the system when needled.
The Xi-Cleft-Accumulating points are somewhat like wide shallow spots in a river where the Qi slows and collects. Needling Xi points therefore accesses more Qi and is more effective at clearing a channel than most points.
A Mu-Front-Alarm point is on the front of the body and located close to the organ with which it has a diagnostic relationship. Visual examination, obtaining certain reactions when pressing the point or spontaneous sensation at the point are all significant diagnostic information. This is why Mu is also translated as Alarm.
The Shu-Back points are on the back on both branches of the Bladder channel. They are each named for an organ or body part and have the same diagnostic relationship with those parts as the Mu points have with the organs.
Window to the Sky points are all in the upper third of the body. In one diagnostic model this third of the body is likened to Heaven. If there is poor Qi flow between the upper third and lower thirds then a window must be opened to restore communication between Heaven and Earth. In another model these points are held to facilitate connection to one’s own spirit or to the spirit world thus reconnecting one to heaven.