How to Choose Acupuncture Points?

Patients are always curious how acupuncturists choose the correct acupuncture points.

The basic idea with acupuncture is to correct the underlying imbalance in the body.  By correcting the imbalances we stimulate the body to heal itself.

As an acupuncturist, I will determine the imbalance through the intake and examination.  For example, if someone is coming in for a migraine headache which is caused by a lack of circulation  of the energy, what we call qi stagnation, we’ll choose points to move the qi.  A common combination for moving the qi is Liv 3 and LI 4.

Evolving Acupuncture

I find that acupuncture is most effective by changing the focus of the treatment overtime. At first, we may focus on releasing tension in the muscles, this is called moving qi and blood stagnation.  But over time it may become more important to focus on boosting up the qi to support the overall health.  This is often true in the acupuncture treatment of chronic prostatitis.

There are also points which are chosen based on the location of the illness.   Pain on the urinary bladder channel ,which travels up the back, can be treated with acupuncture points on the urinary bladder channel located on the legs such as UB 40 or UB 60.  These points can help with the treatment of chronic low back pain and sciatica.

Ouch Acupuncture Points

Acupuncturists will also search out for specifically painful areas at the location of the pain.  In Chinese these are called ashi points.  In English this means “ouch points.”  Often, they may be referred to as trigger points in the West.  Acupuncture will help to release these areas of pain to relax the muscle, increase circulation, and reduce pain.  Trigger points are very important in the acupuncture treatment of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

Acupuncturists also may use a specific point because we know that it is clinically effective.  For example, using PC 6 acupuncture point for nausea has been shown time and time again to reduce many types of nausea.  Because we know this works through clinical experience, we call this an empirical point.

I combine different methods and therapies to create the best treatment for each patient.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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