Classical Points Combinations and Clusters of Points, in Acupuncture Therapy

Shmuel Halevi Ph.D
P.O.Box 159 Kfar Veradim
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25147 ISRAEL
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A points-combination In Chinese medicine is a term used to describe a well-known collection of acupuncture points, from two up to, usually, no more than five or six points. Generally, this collection of points has a long history of clinical use, based both on theoretical foundations and experience.

Since most of T.C.M. (Traditional Chinese Medicine - from now onward) clinical means, herbs and acupuncture alike, have evolved from solid theoretical ground, it is not surprising that almost all classical points-combinations are the result of logical reasoning of the same valid principles. Moreover, the fact that so many classical combinations have survived throughout the ages (and we are speaking of some thousands of years) (1), and have proven themselves clinically successful, only emphasizes and reaffirms the stability and truthfulness of these theoretical principles.


Points-combinations - general rules

The various laws for combining points

Formula building in acupuncture therapy utilizing points combinations

Survey of classical and effective points-combinations


Basically a points-combination, or points-cluster (which Is a different thing) (2), is supposed to have a very specific energetic impact on the body, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the whole treatment of which it is a part.

In order to Illustrate this Idea more clearly, here are a few examples:

A. A nasal congestion and/or sinus infection is supposed to clog the Yang-Ming meridian system in the region of the nasal cavities and forehead. There is an age old points combination dealing with this phenomenon, based on the points: Hegu (LI-4), Quchi (LI-11) and Yingxiang (LI-20).

These three points together, which belong to the Shou-Yang Ming system, if punctured in the above mentioned sequence, have a pushing, obstruction-clearing action on the meridian, thus resolving the stagnation in the affected region.

B. Another example, which is based on the principle Shu-Mu combinations, will show an effect directed toward a specific Internal organ in the body. For instance the points: Feishu (B-13) and Zhongfu (L-1), which serve as the Back-Shu (associated) point of the Lung organ, and the Front-Mu (alarm) point of the Lung organ, deal successfully with problems such as asthma, painful breathing, pulmonary bleeding etc. These problems need a soothing, calming and harmonizing action, which this combination can provide.

Yet, other combinations are capable of even more fantastic effects. There are combinations, based on more complex principles, which are capable of multi-system overall effects. Such a combination is Liehchueh (L-7) and Zhaohai (K-6).

These two form the Master and Coupled points of an extra meridian - the Jen Mai. As such they have a vast influence over the organs and functions in the domain of this vessel. This may include the breathing, digestive and sexual-urinary systems; it may also include fluid metabolism in general, as well as hormonal imbalances affecting the uterus (3).

Besides "opening" the Jen Mai by activating its Master and Coupled points, these two points bind the mutual assistance function of the Lung and Kidney systems (4).

Liehchueh activates the downward flow of the Lung energy, thus setting in motion the Lung's activities such as breathing properly, dispersing extra fluid from the body (perspiration, urine, etc.), sending extra fluid to the kidney and eliminating phlegm (5). Zhaohai, in response, causes an upward movement by activating kidney functions associated with Yin (water, phlegm metabolism) (6), thus harmonizing the activities in the Kidney's domain, such as sexual-urinary functions. In addition, as mentioned above, these two points form the link between the Lung and the Kidney, by aiding the kidney to "grasp" Lung Qi (which descends), and preventing it from "rebelling" upward (i.e. dyspnoea, asthma) (7).

In these three examples we can see that points-combinations may have a local effect on a meridian, on an internal organ, on a specific disease focus in the body, as well as on general functions or activities of various systems in the body.

It is, therefore, of primary importance to make a proper diagnosis, which will enable the practitioner to choose the proper points-combination in order to assist the treatment formula in the desired way. Still, it will be difficult to choose the proper points-combination just by memorizing them all. A profound comprehension of the logic which lies behind each combination is needed.

This brings us back to the "laws" of acupuncture and to its very core - the theories of Yin-Yang, Five-elements, Tsang-Fu etc.

Only by a thorough understanding of these principles one can understand, or even memorize the manifold points combinations, and then apply them correctly.