TCM Theory: Acupuncture Treatment Principle

Principles of Treatment
   1. Categories of Points Selection
   2. Categories of Clinical Combination for Common Use
   3. Five-Shu-Points
   4. Shu Points and Mu Points
   5. Yuan-Points and Luo-Points
   6. Eight Confluent Points and Eight Influential Points

Principles of Treatment
The principle of Acupuncture treatment is based on the nature of the diseases. As recorded in the book Miraculous Pivots: The reinforcing method is applied in case of deficiency. The excessive pathogenic factors must be dispelled by the reducing method. It also says that heat syndromes should be treated by swift needling while cold syndromes by retention of needles. If the vita-vapor is deficient and collapsed, moxibustion should be applied. If it is neither deficiency nor excess, just locate points along the affected channels.

The reducing method is to dispel the pathogenic factors and dispel stagnation in order to help restore systemic immunity and is indicated for excessive syndromes. While the reinforcing method is applied to deficiency syndromes to restore the vita-vapor in the body.

For excess heat syndromes, the method of swift needling or spot pricking with a three-edged needle to cause bleeding is used to reduce and dispel pathogenic heat.

Needle retention or moxibustion is applied to patients with deficiency syndromes such as strong pathogenic cold or stagnation of Zang-fu, channels and collaterals and vita-vapor to enhance Yang and dispel coldness,

When vita-vapor and blood stagnate and block the Jing Luo, depletion is applied to dispel the stagnation. Moxibustion is applied to raise yang vita-vapor and to lift prolapsed Zang-fu organs. Points of affected meridian are chosen to regulate vita-vapor and blood for syndromes which only involve the particular meridian, e.g. Waiguan can be chosen for migraine.

Clinical application of Acupuncture must be based on the theory of TCM with the reference to the traditional diagnostic methods, to set up the eight principles of Yin and Yang, cold and hot, exterior and interior, deficiencies, then can the principle of treatment be determined.

1. Categories of Points Selection
There are three categories of points selection:

    * Location of Local Points. This means choosing points which are near the diseased area. e.g. Zhongwan, Liangmen can be chosen for epigastric pain.

    * Location of distant Points. This refers to the location of points far from the diseased area. e.g. choosing Zusanli for epigastric pain.

    * Location of Symptomatic Points. This refers to the location of the corresponding points according to some prominent symptoms. e.g. Danzhong is located to treat vita-vapor disorders.

2. Categories of Clinical Combination for Common Use
There are five categories of clinical combination of Acupuncture.

    * Location of Points from the Diseased Meridian. That is to say, points along the diseased meridian to which one of the organs is related will he presented. e.g, Zhongfu, Chize, Yuji are located for cough.

    * Location of Externally and Internally related Points. That is, if a disease occurs in certain Zangfu or meridian, points which are externally and internally related are prescribed. e.g. Zusanli, Gongsun arc selected for epigastric pain.

    * Location of Anteriorly and Posteriorly Related Points. It is also called combining abdomen and back points. Yin and Yang points location. e.g. Danzhong, Jueyinshu can be chosen to treat pain in the heart.

    * Location of Superior and Inferior Points of the body. e.g. to treat migraine, Fengchi, Xiaxi can be located.

    * Location of left and Right Points. This method is applied to locate points on both sides or the opposite side to the diseased area. e.g. Jianyu, Quchi, Hegu of both sides are located to treat forearm pain, while Neiguan, Yanglingquan of the left side are chosen to treat hemiplegia of the left side.

3. Five-Shu-Points
Five Shu points are a simplified name for the five points of the twelve meridians located below the elbow and knee, namely Jing-Well, Ying Spring, and He Sea. The ancient Chinese doctors compared the flow of vita-vapor to that of water, small and shallow at the beginning, becoming big and deep gradually

The points which vita-vapor springs up are called Well points; the points where vita-vapor flows copiously are called Spring points; where vita-vapor flows like a stream are called stream points; where vita-vapor flows through are river points. The theory of Five Shu points is derived from clinical practice and it can be explained by the theory of Genjie and sample (Root and Branch).

Clinical application of Five Shu points should be in accordance with the characteristics of climate and seasons. In spring and summer, shallow acupuncture on Jing Ying points is applied, while in autumn and winter, deep acupuncture on Jing He points is preferred.

Five Shu points can also be used according to the indications pertaining to each of them. e.g. Jing-Well points are indicated in the fullness of the stomach, Ying-Spring points in febrile diseases, Shu-Stream points in listlessness and painful joints. Jing-River points in asthma, cough, cold and fever, He-Sea points in diarrhea, and preservation of vita-vapor.

In addition, Five Shu points can be located according to the respective relationship with Zang-fu and five elements. That is the method of "reinforcing the major and reducing the secondary". e.g. the excess lung syndromes can be treated by reducing Chize point which pertains to water in the lung meridian. This is called reducing the son in excess syndromes.

In contrast, the deficient lung syndrome can be treated by reinforcing Taiyuan point which pertains to earth in the lung meridian. This is "reinforcing the major in deficiency syndromes".

Apart from these, reinforcing and reducing methods can be applied not only between major and secondary points, but also between mother and son meridian.

4. Shu Points and Mu Points
Each Zang-fu has its corresponding Shu point and Mu point. Mu points are located in the chest and abdominal region while Shu points are on the back. The Shu and Mu points, when used in combination, can treat corresponding Zang-fu disorders. e.g. front Mu point Zhongwan and back Shu point Weishu, the Mu and Shu points of the stomach can be locate for stomachache.

5. Yuan-Points and Luo-Points
The Yuan-Source points treat Zang-fu diseases while Luo-connecting points treat disorders of externally and internally related meridians. The Yuan and Luo points can be used independently or in combination. The first affected meridian is compared to a host, the second, a guest. e.g. if the lung meridian is first affected, Yuan point Taiyuan is located, and large intestine meridian is second affected, Luo point Pianli is located.

6. Eight Confluent Points and Eight Influential Points
The eight confluent points are those in the extremities connecting the eight extra meridians. e.g. Gongsun connects with the Chong meridian, and Neiguan links with the Yinwei meridian. These two points, when used together, can treat disorders of stomach, heart and chest.

The eight influential points can be used to treat the diseases of the corresponding tissues and organs; e.g. Danzhong, the influential point of vita-vapor, is applied to treat internal heat syndrome, while Zhongwan, the influential point of Fu, is used to treat Fu organs.

Xi-Cleft points are located for acute diseases of the affected meridians and Zang-fu, e.g. Xi point, Kongzui is located and treated for lung diseases accompanied with hemoptysis. Xi point Ximen can be applied to treat heart pain.

The lower He-Sea points refer to the six He points located below the six Fu organs of the three yang meridians of the foot. They can be located and treat for corresponding Fu diseases, e.g. Shangjuxu is for large intestine disorders, Xiajuxu for small intestine disorders.

The crossing points refer to those located at the intersection of two or more meridians. They can he used to treat disorders of the related meridians and Zangfu organs. e.g. Sanyinjiao is applied for treating diseases of the liver, spleen and kidney and their respective meridians.


Please browse the following contents for further study:

  1. Introduction

  2. Mechnism of Yin Yang Operation

  3. Pathogenic Factors

  4. Concept of Qi

  5. Concept of Blood, Body Fluid and Qi

  6. Mechnism of Chinese Massage

  7. Visceral Symptom

  8. Inner Canon of Yellow Emperor

  9. Acupuncture Treatment Principle

  10. Five Element Theory

  11. Channels and Meridians

  12. Acupuncture Doctors and Works

  13. Origin of Acupuncture