How To Choose An Acupuncture Point

People often ask me what the points are for while I am needling them. There is no easy answer to this question, as understanding the function of acupuncture points requires understanding all of Chinese medicine. The best answer is that the points being needled are for the person – they are in resonance with that person’s energetic make-up. The person, the illness, the diagnosis, and the treatment, all are the same.

Having said that, one way of speaking about acupuncture points (and there are many) is to say that all of the points on a channel have some relation to the functions of the organ system it is named after. Thus, all of the points on the Heart and Small Intestine meridians (both fire element organs) in some way deal with aspects of the Heart that are discussed in this newsletter. As an example, take the last point on the Small intestine channel – SI 19, Tingong, or Listening Palace.

Located right in front of the ear, this point is used to treat ringing in the ears, difficulty hearing, and jaw pain. But there are many points that treat these issues. This point is used when the underlying theme is difficulty in sorting. The person may be burdened with information and unable to sort through it, creating an obstruction to accurate perception and communication that leads to an accumulation of heat and tension in the region of the ear and jaw. This imbalance may also manifest as digestive difficulties in the small intestine. Needling this point helps a person learn to listen inwardly, imparting the quality of detecting what is most essential. As a contrast, ear and jaw problems related not to sorting essential information but to the capacity to act upon it are often treated through the Gall Bladder meridian.