8: Sanjiao channel is good at clearing fire. How to apply it to clinical practice?

Sanjio channel is exterior-interior related to the pericardium channel. It not only is good at regulating qi, but also clearing heat, especially heat in the upper Jiao (its pathway runs to arm and head). Clearing Sanjiao fire will benefit the upper orifices, such as Sanchasan (A.04) (Yimen) (SJ2) and Zhongzhu (SJ3) for fire eyes (red, swollen eyes). To treat tinnitus and deafness, select Sanchasan (Yimen) (SJ2), Zhongbai (22.06) (Zhongzhu SJ3), and Huochan (33.04) (Zigou SJ6). Select Zhongbai (Zhongzhu SJ3) and Weiguan (SJ5) to treat deaf-mute. To treat sore throat, needle Sanchasan (Yimen SJ2), and Zhongbai (Zhongzhu SJ3).

To clear and resolve fire heat to treat heart-vexed, needle Guanchong (SJ1), Sanchasan (Yimen SJ2). To treat febrile diseases without sweating, Guanchong (SJ1), Sanchasan (Yimen SJ2), Zhongbai (Zhongzhu (SJ3), Weigua (SJ5), Huochan and/or (Zhigou SJ6) all are effective. To treat Xiaoke (waste-thirst), Yangchi (SJ4) is often selected and result is pretty good. Because regulating Sanjiao and clearing fire is an important treatment strategy in bringing down the blood sugar level. Many Tung’s points that are able to treat Xiaoke follow the rule (located on the Sanjiao channel). Zhishen point is located on the ring finger, the Sanjiao channel, is for treating dry mouth.

7: Foot Taiyin spleen channel not only is good at treating digestive system diseases, but also good at treating reproductive system diseases located in the lower abdomen. Why is that?

Foot Taiyin spleen channels starts at Yinbai (SP1) point, runs along the medial and anterior aspect of the foot. It continues travels upward to the lower abdomen and intersects with Zhongji (RN3), Guanyuan (RN4) points of the Ren meridian before homing to the spleen and connecting with the stomach. It then continues upward and passes the lateral ribs and ascends to the side of the esophagus and finally proceeds up to the root of the tongue.

Spleen channel is good at treating reproductive system diseases. Other than the points around toe tips (ex. Yinbai (SP1)), points between Sanyinjiao (SP6) and Chongmen (SP12) are effective for those diseases. Xiasanhuang (the lower three emperors) points are effective points for treating reproductive system diseases.

Many gynecological disorders are caused by the spleen deficiency. Sanyinjiao (SP6) is called “the Sanli ((foot) three miles) of the females” and is similar to Yinlingquan (SP9) that has very broad indications. Xiehai (SP10) is also called “the sea of blood” and hence treats any blood-related diseases, for example, uterine bleeding and irregular menstruation. Sanyinjiao (SP6) is believed to effectively treat breech delivery, transverse or oblique lie or any abnormal delivery since ancient. To treat metrorrhagia, Yinbai (SP1), Diji (SP8) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) are selected to bring the blood back to the spleen. It can be clearly seen from those examples that foot Taiyin spleen channel is closely related to reproductive organ diseases, especially uterine diseases. The above mentioned diseases that are treated by Sanyinjio (SP6) can also be treated by Renhuang (77.21) point or Daoma of the Renhuang and Shenguan point for even stronger result.

6: Why both the small intestine and Sanjiao channels govern the ear diseases? Why the indications of those two channels are similar?

Small intestine channel travels toward the head region. It passes the neck and lateral head, enters the ears and terminates at facial region. It is effective in treating febrile or blood-congestion diseases in those regions. It is particularly effective in treating ear diseases. Needling points of the small intestine will unobstruct the ears and benefit the orifices, mainly treat tinnitus, and weak of hearing. Points selected for those problems are Tingguon (SI19), Wanshunyi (22.08) and Wanshuner (22.09) or (SI3, and SI4).

Hand Tai Yang governs the “humor (ye)” related disease. The described indications related to the above quote are deafness, yellowing of the eyes, swelling of the cheek, pain in the neck, submandibular region, shoulder, upper arm, elbow and posterior aspect of the forearm. Several Tung’s extraordinary points that are located on the small intestine channel such as Yenhuang (11.23) (eye yellow) treats yellowish eyes; Wanshuner (22.09) Changmen (33.10) (intestine gate) and Ganmen (33.11 (liver gate) all treat liver diseases (including yellowish eyes). Wanshunyi and Wanshuner are also essential points for treating tinnitus.

Hand Shao Yang governs the “qi” related diseases. The exterior channel diseases of Sanjiao include deafness, swelling of the throat, throat bi, (abnormal) perspiration, and pain in the outer and inner canthus. Sanjiao channel travels along the upper limb and the lateral head. Most tinnitus and deafness are caused by qi deficiency or qi obstruction. Clinically the points of Sanjiao channel are often selected to treat tinnitus and deafness. For example, Zhongzhu (SJ3) in the fourteen-channels or Zhongbai and Xiabai in Tung’s acupuncture are essential points in treating tinnitus and deafness. Blood-letting (pricking) Guanchong (SJ1), the Jing-well point of the Sanjiao channel, to treat swollen throat and throat obstruction is very effective.

Sanjiao channel travels along the upper limb toward the upper ankle of the ear (behind the ear), to the cheeks and infraorbital regions. It treats pains located on the frontal head, lateral head, chest, ribs, and upper limbs. Because Sanjiao channel is yang channel, it mainly treats febrile diseases or blood-congested disorders located in the ears, nose, throat and facial regions. The indications are similar to those of the large intestine and small intestine channels. Sanjiao, large intestine, and small intestine channels have many in common. Sanjiao and small intestine channel are very alike particularly the point locations. Both channels are fire channels and hold the same position related to the monarch fire and prime minister fire. Their indications are alike too.

5: Could you briefly talk about how to apply the point combination of the extraordinary connections of the Zang Fu organs (Zang Fu Bei Tong) to clinical practice?

Point selections based on Zang Fu Bei Tong is a very practical needling method. Previous discussions have talked about the point selection from single channel, such as LI 11 on the large intestine channel to treat dizziness or vertigo related to the liver channel; and PC6 on the pericardium channel to treat stomach disorders. However, the point combinations from mutually connected organs are more important and very often applied to clinical practice. Examples are as below.

1. Extraordinary connections of lung and urinary bladder: LU5 on the lung channel and BL40 on the bladder channel compose the “four flex pair 四彎配”, which is the most important point combination for blood-letting. It will treat many miscellaneous and difficult and complex diseases. Lung channel is good at treating skin disorders while BL40 on the bladder channel is good at treating boil and carbuncles. Blood-letting on BL40 and Zhiwu (11.26) point (on the lung channel) forms a great combination for various skin diseases. Those are the effective combination examples of the extraordinary connections of the lung and bladder.

2. Extraordinary connections of the spleen and small intestine: Shenguan (77.18), a point on the spleen channel, and SI3, a point on the small intestine, form the very effective combination for treating the frozen shoulder. Shenguan and Wanshuanyi (22.08) and Wanshuaner (22.09) form a good combination to expel dampness and effectively treat lumbago. Those are the examples of the extraordinary connections of the spleen and small intestine.

3. Extraordinary connection of kidney and Sanjiao: Song of Jade Dragon and Ode of Jade Dragon both indicate that SJ6 and KD6 combination is for treating constipation. Zhongzhu (SJ3) on the Sanjiao channel and Fuliu (KD7) on the kidney channel form a great combination in treating lumbago. Those are the examples of the extraordinary connection of the kidney and Sanjiao.

4. Extraordinary connection of the heart and gallbladder: Fengshi (GB31) on the gallbladder channel and Shaofu (HT8) on the heart channel form a very good combination in expelling wind and stopping itchiness. Qiaoyin (GB44) and Shenmen (HT7) form an effective combination on treating insomnia and dreamful sleep. Those are the examples of the extraordinary connection of the heart and gallbladder.

5. Extraordinary connection of stomach and pericardium: The combination of Neiguan (PC6) and Zusanli (ST36) effectively treats stomach, heart, lung organ diseases, and many internal diseases, for example: digestive, circulation and respiratory system disorders. The effectiveness is through the extraordinary connection of the pericardium and stomach. This point combination is the most commonly used one in regulating heart, stomach and respiratory systems.

6. Extraordinary connection of liver and large intestine: The combination of Hegu (LI4) and Taichong (LV3) is called “four gates” which not only good at treating nasal disease (Song of Point Applications for Miscellaneous Disease), but also treats many major diseases. It is particularly strong at sedating and also is the most commonly used point pair. Besides, Dajien (11.01), Xiaojien (11.02) and Dadun (LV1) form an effective combination in treating hernia and frontal and posterior yin diseases (genital and anus disorders). Those are the examples of the extraordinary connection of the liver and large intestine.

4: How to apply the midnight-noon ebb flow (Zi Wu Liu Zhu) of the Ren and Du meridians to the clinical practice?

Ren and Du meridians connect into a circle. The ebb flow of their qi and blood circulates to a cycle. Like the twelve channels, the qi and blood of the Ren and Du meridians change from day to night. The ebb flow of the meridians also rises and falls from day to night. There are certain opening points corresponding to certain time periods (shi chen). There are two popular sayings about the ebb flow of the Ren and Du meridians.

Time Period Zi 11-1 Chao 1-3 Yin 3-5 Mao 5-7 Chen 7-9 Si 9-11 Wu 11-1 Wei 1-3 Shen 3-5 You 5-7 Xu 7-9 Hai 9-11
One RN15 RN17 RN23 Wangguong (Shangen) DU20 DU16 DU6 BL23 DU1 RN1 RN4 RN8
Two RN1 DU2 DU4 DU8 DU12 DU16 DU20 DU26 RN24 RN17 RN12 RN8

My personal clinical practice proved that the second saying is more accurate. The opening points of Yin, Mao and Chen time periods are on the back; and Si, Wu, and Wei on the head (refer to the chart). This corresponds to the “During the Yang time periods, the points located on the Yang regions are opened.” The opening points of the Shen, You, and Xu time periods are located on the front chest; and Hai, Zi and Chou are in the lower abdomen or lumbus. This matches “During the Yin time periods, the points located on the Yin regions are opened.”

Selecting opening points according to the time periods to treat diseases gives good results. Combining the ebb flow of the twelve channels to select points give even better results. For example, to treat lumbar sprain, it is common to needle DU26 combining with SI3 at Wei shi (1-3 pm). The result is very good and usually it takes only one treatment to cure completely. It is because the opening point of Wei shi is DU26. DU26 along is also a very effective empirical point for lumbago. At Wei shi, the ebb flow of the twelve channel flows to the small intestine channel. Selecting the Shu-stream point of the small intestine, SI3, along is also a very effective empirical point in treating lumbago. That is why this combination is outstandingly effective. Let me give another example. A patient with several protruded lumbar disks which caused severe sciatica was under so much pain that his body leaned toward to the right side to form a 45 degree ankle while walking. He had seen several doctors during the past three years but none of the treatments helped. I asked the patient come for treatment every other day (three visits a week) at Wei time-period (two o’clock in the afternoon). The points selected were DU26, SI3 (both sides), BL65 (both sides) and were retained for one hour. Blood-letting at BL40 was performed every ten days. The total treatment was twelve visits and total blood-letting treatment was three times. The entire treatment duration to cure the problem was only 28 days. The patient could walk normally like ordinary people. His posture was upright and without slanting to any angle. Needling DU26 and SI3 at Wei period matched the ebb-flow time-period. SI3 is also one of the eight confluent points, which communicates with the Du meridian. The needles were retained for one hour until Shen time period (three o’clock in the afternoon), the time that energy flows to the bladder channel. Bladder channels clasp the spinal column. The muscle-tendon channel of the bladder channel reaches the spinal column. BL65 is the Shu-stream point. Shu-stream points govern heavy body sensation and joint pains. Blood-letting at BL40 at Shen time period (3-5 o’clock in the afternoon) every ten days amplified the effectiveness several folds. Those are the reasons that the three-year-old severe sciatica was cured in 4 weeks.

I also often blood-letting at Taiyang point at Si, Wu, and Wei time periods to treat various major diseases and gained pretty good results. It is because the qi and blood flows to the head region at those time periods (as at Si time period, DU16 is opened; Wu time period, DU20 is opened; Wei time period, DU26 is opened), particularly the Wu time period for the energy is focused at the top of head (DU20).