Acupuncture points come from and are formed by qi and blood from the canals …

Su Wen chapter 59

Huang Di asked: I would like to know what are the points which represent the Zang Fu. Qi Bo answered: these are the 5 Shu points…

Ling Shu, chapter 1

There are 365 meeting points at the joints of the joints (jie) *. Whoever knows the basics can say it in one sentence, whoever does not know the basics completely loses all direction. What are called the joints (jie) are not the skin, the flesh, the tendons or the bones, but the places where go out and enter, walk and circulate the breath and the spirit.

Líng Shū, chapter 1

* The term "joints" jié (节) evokes the nodes of a bamboo stem, like the points on the canals.

Acupuncture points are the places where Qi and Blood flow from the surface of the body. The points represent the channels and the channels can be considered as the source of the qi and blood of the points.

It is the physiological relationship between points and channels that provides the fundamental theoretical basis for the use of points. One cannot understand the classic functions and indications of points without taking into consideration the channel that carries them.

We have to look for the points in the “empty” spaces between the different physical structures. When stimulated, they cause a transformation, a systemic movement that spreads to the internal organs. The mind can perceive the subtle movements of qì and blood in acupuncture points.

The terms 穴 (xué), 俞 (shū), 腧 (shū) and 输 (shū) refer to acupuncture points. The contemporary expression for "points" is shū xué 腧 穴 ("acupuncture point") or simply xué 穴.

Shū (输) is mainly used to define a particular point category, the 5 transport points or wǔ shū xué (五 输 穴), associated with the five movements.

Shū (俞) is used either to speak of the third transport point, or to designate the “back transport” points, bèi shù (背 俞).

xué (穴) evokes a hole, a hollow, a fault where the qì and the blood of the meridian accumulate. The points are all located in hollows, spaces between the anatomical structures.

The other characters express an idea of ​​transport, of movement. Shū (腧, 俞, 输) are therefore cavities where qì and blood are transported from the canals, places where qì and blood are concentrated.

In Nèi Jīng there are other terms that refer to acupuncture points. Xī gǔ (溪谷) the “chasms and valleys” are the spaces, the depressions between the muscles where Xī (溪) corresponds to small depressions and Gǔ (谷) to large depressions.

The big gatherings in the flesh are the valleys (谷). The small gatherings in the flesh are the chasms (溪). Between the flesh (there are) the gatherings of chasms and valleys in which circulate the nourishing and defensive (qì).

Sù Wèn chapter 58

Dr. Wáng Jū Yì 王 居 易 says that acupuncture points are places on the surface of the body where there is a transformation and a transport of information, a regulation of the functions of the meridians and organs, an irrigation of the surrounding tissues, a connection to the global network of channels, a transport of qì and blood from the internal to the external. Channels and dots reflect the state of Zàng Fǔ.

The 365 points are the places where the qi / xue of the channels circulates, enters and leaves and the places where the external pathogenic qi attacks the channels. To disperse the pathogenic qi we can punctuate the points.

Su Wen, chapter 10

Chapter 56 of Su Wen says: "When pathogenic qi attacks the body, it first enters the skin. Then he enters the collaterals, sinks deeper into the canals until he reaches the Zang Fu ”.

Chapter 42 of Su Wen says: “The wind attacks the Zang Fu through the points which correspond to the Zang Fu and causes a stroke.”

All these passages indicate that the points are not only the places of the body where the qi / xue of the channels emerges and circulates on the surface but also the places where the perverse Qi penetrates to attack the channels and the organs. We can therefore punctuate the points to balance the channels and dissipate the pathogenic Qi. We must understand that these two distinct functions of points require the application of different techniques. A point is a neutral receiver of stimulation and puncturing a point does not automatically regulate the channels or disperse perverse Qi. For example, if we want to disperse the perverse Qi at point GI4, we must apply a dispersal technique.

The depth of the points changes depending on the season and it is very important to know the correct depth of the points when puncturing.

Ling Shu, chapter 19

We know that the seasons affect the distribution of qi and blood in the canals. The qi and blood are more superficial in summer and deeper in winter. Since the qi / xue of the points comes from the channels, the points and their location are therefore also affected by seasonal variations. (see article:

Characteristics of an acupuncture point

Chapter 58 of Su Wen is the only chapter in Huang Di Nei Jing which classifies all points into different groups based on their function. So this is an extremely important chapter because it helps us understand the functions and applications of points. The following groups are described:

  1. the points related to the Zang Fu
  2. dots heat and the points water
  3. points related to Yin / Yang Qiao Mai
  4. the 5 Zang back Shu points
  5. the other points on the head, face, chest, back and the four limbs

Chapter 58 of Su Wen and chapters 1 and 2 of Ling Shu state that the only group of points that processes Zang Fu are the 5 transport Shu points. This is one of the basic theories of Huang Di Nei Jing. The 5 Zang's back Shu points are not listed under the 50 point category in relation to the 5 Zang in Chapter 1 of Ling Shu. It is obvious that the function of Bei Shu points is not related to regularization of the physiology of Zang Fu.

The heat and water points have special functions to treat febrile illnesses and illnesses related to water retention (see my article: du-huang-di-nei-jing).

The Yin / Yang Qiao Mai points are Shen Mai V62 and Zhao Hai R6 and are used to treat dysfunctions of their respective vessels. Yin and Yang Qiao Mai are considered to be branches of the main bladder and kidney canals. However V62 and R6 should only be used to treat disorders of these collaterals and not those of the Bladder and Kidney.

Other points include the 5 Zang Bei Shu points. By virtue of the relation which exists between the points and the channels, their functions should be in connection with the functions of the channels which carries them (see below).

Classification of points according to their function

Chapter 59 of Su Wen then gives the number of points on each channel, bilaterally:

  • Zu Tai Yang = 78
  • Zu Shao Yang = 62
  • Zu Yang Ming = 68
  • Shou Tai Yang = 36
  • Shou Yang Ming = 22
  • Shou Shao Yang = 32
  • From May = 28
  • Ren May = 28
  • Chong Mai = 22
  • Zu Shao Yin, Shou Shao Yin, Zu Jue Yin and Yin / Yang Qiao Mai = 8

The counting of points is quite surprising since it does not correspond to the number of points described in contemporary textbooks. For example, the Zu Tai Yang is said to have 78 points bilaterally against the 67 counted unilaterally today. In addition, only the points of the Yang channels are counted in detail. Finally, the last part of chapter 59 states that the total number of points is 365 when a precise count gives 384 (these numbers are very significant and representative of the spirit which animates all Huang Di Nei Jing; indeed, we know that the 64 hexagrams of Yi Jing represent the whole of the transformations of yin and yang. The 64 hexagrams total 64 × 6 = 384 yao lines, i.e. as many lines as points.)

For these reasons, most practitioners do not pay attention to this chapter, which is one of only two by Su Wen to talk about acupuncture points (the other chapter is chapter 58).

Chapter 58 classifies the points according to their function and chapter 59 discusses the relationship between the points and the channels. These two chapters reveal the function of channels from different points of view.

As we already know, a point is a place where the qi / xue of a channel meets. It is the general or physiological relationship between a point and its channel.

In chapter 58 the sentence is repeated 10 times: "The points which are come from and formed by the qi and the blood of a meridian". Repetition is a figure of classical style which emphasizes the importance of a concept, of a theory. We must therefore understand here that certain groups of points belong to a channel in respect of its qi and its blood. This establishes the principles of point selection.

Relation between the points and their channel

This diagram reveals two of the most important points regarding acupuncture points.

Points A, B, C and D are formed by the Qi / Xue of the channel and the relationship between a point and its channel then becomes very specific. The 22 points of shou yang ming, for example, can be used to treat dysfunctions of shou yang ming. This means that the functions and indications of the points are defined by the symptoms linked to the dysfunction of their channel. The function of point A can normalize the function of shou yang ming, that is to say, treat tooth pain, swelling of the neck etc … which are symptoms of shou yang ming! The same reasoning applies to the other points B, C and D of the shou yang ming.

Functions and indications of points in relation to their channel

We understand that the channel is the source of points A, B, C, D and that each point represents the state of its channel in an identical way, that is to say that in reality A = B = C = D = qi / xue of the channel. The channel is the source of all its points.

We deduce that the Bei Shu points of Zang Fu listed among the points of Zu Tai Yang have a specific action on Zu Tai Yang…

Chapter 59 of Su Wen focuses on the relationship between a point and its channel and on a symbolic counting of points. This is why the counting of the points of the Yin channels is almost completely ousted.

We can also note that 3 “extraordinary” vessels are taken into account here: Ren, Du and Chong. I frequently explain during my seminars why the notion of "8 extraordinary vessels" does not conform to the theories of Huang Di Nei Jing and that it should be replaced by a theory of the 3 extraordinary vessels …

To finish, we must discern on the same channel two types of points having different functions. We know for example that the indications of points P1,2,3,…, 11 are identical because all these points belong to the shou tai yin. However, P5,8,9,10,11 are classified among the category of 5 Shu transport points and therefore include in their indications the signs and symptoms of the Fei organ.

The functions and indications of points in the Huang Di Nei Jing

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