What is an Acupuncture Point?

acupuncture median map
Map of the Acupuncture meridians

Acupuncture points are areas on the body that can be readily stimulated with acupuncture needles, massage tools, or with your hands for acupressure.

Acupuncture points can lie on acupuncture channels.  Others are independent of the acupuncture channel.

What is an Acupuncture Point?

Acupuncture points are areas of the body that can be stimulated to produce a healing effect.  We like to say they are places where the Qi is more accessible.  This is why we needle or massage them to influence the flow and circulation of qi.  Acupuncture points most often lie on acupuncture channels.

The science of acupuncture is fascinating and there is a lifetime of exploring to be done. Some scientists examine what is happening at the acupuncture points to explore acupuncture’s healing effect.

Scientists think that acupuncture points have lower electrical resistance than other areas of the body. Also, stimulating specific acupuncture points vs. non-acupuncture points has been shown to stimulate pain relieving parts of the brain.

Each acupuncture point has a specific healing action such as moving the qi in the digestive system or stimulating production of reproductive qi. Sometimes the affect will focus on a specific region of the body.  By elegantly combining the points, the skilled practitioner helps to balance the body and promote self healing.

There are almost as many treatment styles as there are acupuncturists.  Sometimes acupuncturists will not treat the painful area of the body, but rather the opposite side of the body, or along the acupuncture channel rather than in areas of pain. For example, I prefer to put needles in points on the feet for migraine headaches, because this is more effective for relieving the pain.

Acupuncture Channels and Qi Flow

The core of acupuncture theory is the acupuncture channel system and network (also called acupuncture meridians).  The channels are an alternative communication mechanism that connect and integrate the body. That is why we can use points on your leg to treat digestive diseases, headaches, acne, or asthma.

Qi, the body’s energy, circulates in the channels.  This is another reason they are like channels, because material flows through them.   Good health is maintained when there is a good amount of circulation and amount of qi in the channels.  Injuries, stress, and illnesses can cause the qi to slow down or stagnate in the channels.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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