All are located at or distal to the knee and elbow joints. In these areas the qi is at its most dynamic, and therefore the shu transporting points are an important part of many acupuncture prescriptions.
“The point at which the qi emanates is known as the jing-well. The point at which the qi glides is known as the ying-spring. The point at which the qi pours through is known as the shu-stream. The point at which the qi flows is known as the jing-river and the point at which the qi enters inwards is known as the he-sea.”
The shu-transporting points of the yin channels
|jing-well (wood)||ying-spring (fire)||shu-stream (earth)||jing-river (metal)||he-sea (water)|
The shu-transporting points of the yang channels
|jing-well (metal)||Ying-spring (water)||shu-stream (wood)||jing-river (fire)||he-sea (earth)|
In this theory, in each of the twelve channels, the qi is thought to flow from the most distal point of the channel to the most proximal. This direction corresponds to the generating cycle of five-phase.
“When the disease is at the yin within yin (zang), needle the ying-spring and the shu-stream points of the yin channels.”
“When the disease is at the yang within yang (skin), needle the he-sea points of the yang-channels.”
“When the disease is at the yin within yang (sinews and bones), needle the jing-river points of the yin channels.”
“When the disease is at the yang within yin (fu), needle the luo-connecting points.”
The jing-well points are all located on the tips of the fingers or toes (except for KD1), places where there is little flesh. They are the first or last points on the channel. This is the place where the qi changes direction. The qi is very dynamic when close to the exterior. Jing-well points are commonly used in acute conditions, such as when a cold or illness are just beginning. Often the point is bled-punctured and milked, but can also be simply needled. Indicated for:
Fullness below the heart (epigastrum): Jing-well points can be used for stagnation and feelings of fullness throughout the chest region.
Diseases of the zang:
Heat and fullness in the uppermost reaches of the channels: These are the most powerful points to clear heat from the uppermost portions of their respective channels, particularly in acute disorders.
Heat and lost consciousness and collapse: Jing-well points are used to clear heat and restore consciousness in cases of coma, fainting or collapse. These points may be pricked and bled for collapse from windstroke or high fever.
Disorders of the spirit: Jing-well points treat varying disorders of the spirit such as mania, insomnia, nightmares, and somnolence.
The ying-spring points are all located on the hands or feet. In every case they are the second or penultimate points on their respective channels. The qi is very dynamic at these points and thus very useful in clearing heat. They are also very anchoring and can be used for ascending yang patterns. These points are indicated for:
Changes in the color or complexion: This indication has little clinical application.
Diseases of the yang channels and the zang (with the shu-stream): Ying-spring points clear excess pathogenic factors, heat, and stagnation, especially from the uppermost reaches, as well as along the entire length of the channel.
Heat in the body: All ying-spring points clear heat from their zangfu or channel, especially from the uppermost portions. The five phase correspondence of the ying-spring points is to fire on the yin channels and water on the yang channels.
This is where the qi begins to flow deeper in the body, “The point at which the qi pours through is known as the shu-stream.” The shu-stream points are the most superficial points to treat the dysfunction in the organs. The wei-qi gathers at these points, and thus can be used for expelling pathogens, but the shu-stream is also the point where pathogens penetrate deeper into the body. The shu-stream points are located at or near the wrists and ankles. The shu-stream points of the three arm yin are located at the flexure of the wrist, KD3 is located posterior to the medial malleolus, and the remaining 8 are proximal to metacarpo- or metatarso-phalangeal joints. On the six yin channels, they are also the yuan-source points.
These points are indicated in:
- Disorders of the zang (with the ying-spring).
- Yang channel disorders (with the ying-spring).
- Heaviness of the body and pain of the joints.
- Diseases which attack intermittently.
Disorders of the Zang: The Shu-Stream points of the yin channels are the primary points for tonifying and harmonizing their respective zang.
- LU9 tonifies both Lung qi and yin.
- SP3 strongly fortifies Spleen qi and yang.
- HT7 tonifies and nourishes the Heart in all kinds of deficiency, whether of qi, blood, yin, or yang.
- KD3 nourishes Kidney yin and tonifies Kidney qi and yang.
- PC7 clears pathogenic factors from the Pericardium during febrile diseases and strongly calms the spirit when disturbed by heat.
- LV3 is indicated for any pattern of the Liver zang whether excess or deficient.
“When the five zang are diseased, select the yuan-source points”
The shu-stream points of the yang channels have relatively little influence on zangfu disorders.
- LI3 for borborygmus and diarrhea due to dampness.
- St43 for disorders of the Stomach and Intestines.
Disorders of the Yang Channels
The Shu-Stream points of the yang channels have a strong action on their channels, as opposed to the organs.
- LI3 clears wind and heat from the head, throat, teeth, eyes, and mouth.
- SI3 regulates disorders of the Taiyang and Governing vessel.
- SJ3 is important for disorders of the Shaoyang, especially for the ears.
- GB41 has a strong action of dispersing stagnation of Liver qi throughout the Shaoyang.
Heaviness of the Body and Pain of the Joints
Shu-Stream points treat painful obstruction, especially when due to dampness. Clinically, the points of the yang channels have a stronger action for pain than the yin channels, with the exception of SP3.
- SP3 for pain of the knee and thigh, joint pains, lumbar pain and atrophy disorder.
- LI3 and SI3 for disorders of the finger joints.
- LI3 is also indicated for shoulder and back pain from chronic painful obstruction leading to exhaustion of qi and blood.
- SI3 is a distal point for all disorders of the neck, shoulder, elbow, arm, lower back, and knees.
- ST43 is often used for general aching due to wind, and for damp-heat painful obstruction.
Diseases Manifesting Intermittently
Intermittent disease refers classically to malaria, though in modern clinical practice Shu-Stream points can be applied to any disease which comes and goes.
“The point at which the qi flows is known as the jing-river”. All jing-river points are situated at or proximal to the wrist and ankle joints, though not always the fourth most distal. The points are distributed so as to for on each yin and yang side of the ankles and wrists.
Cough and dyspnea, chills and fever: The jing-river points of the yin channels correspond to the metal element, and therefore treat lung pathogen. Jing-river points of the yang channels may also have an action on coughing and dyspnea or fever and chills.
Diseases manifesting as changes in the patient’s voice.
Diseases of the sinews and bones: primarily jing-river points of the yin channels, though some on the yang channels also have important actions on the sinews and bones.
Cough and dyspnea, chills and fever.
As metal points, the jing-river points on the yin channels pertain to the Lung, and can, therefore, treat Lung pathogen. Some jing-river points of the yang channel also have an action on either cough and dyspnea, or fever and chills.
- LU8: cough, asthma, wheezing, dyspnea, febrile disease with absence of sweating, febrile disease with breathlessness.
- LI5: cold cough, fever with absence of sweating.
- ST41: febrile disease with absence of sweating, malarial diseases.
- SP5: chills and fever with vomiting, coughing and diarrhea in children with no desire to eat, cough.
- SI5: febrile disease with absence of sweating, chills and fever.
- UB60: dyspnea, cough, malaria, malaria with copious sweating.
- KD7: fever with absence of sweating.
- PC5: aversion to wind and cold, febrile disease, malaria, obstruction of qi following windstroke leading to impaired breathing.
- SJ6: cough, cough with redness and heat of the face, febrile disease with absence of sweating.
- Yangfu GB38: chills and fever, sweating with cold shivering, malaria.
Diseases manifesting in the patient’s voice
- LI5: manic raving, propensity to laughter.
- ST41: stomach heat with raving
- PC5: loss of voice, halting speech, manic raving as if seeing ghosts.
- SP5: stiffness and pain of the root of the tongue, impaired speech, propensity to laughter, cold body with much sighing.
- HT7: sudden loss of voice.
- KD7: curled tongue with inability to speak.
- SJ6: sudden loss of voice.
- Yangfu GB38: sighing.
- Zhongfeng LV4: sighing.
Diseases of the sinews and bones
This action applies to points of both the yin and yang channels.
- ST41: sinew painful obstruction, damp painful obstruction, atrophy disorder of the leg.
- SP5: pain and contraction of the sinews, bone painful obstruction, heavy body with painful joints.
- HT4: cold bones and marrow, clonic spasm.
- SI5: lockjaw, stiffness of the tongue in babies preventing suckling, clonic spasm.
- UB60: stiff neck, contraction of the shoulder and back, lumbar pain, sacral pain, pain of the coccyx, heel pain, ankle pain, lockjaw.
- KD7: cold and hot bones, atrophy disorder of the leg.
- Yangfu GB38: wind painful obstruction with numbness, wandering pain of the joints, hemiplegia, contracted sinews, pain of the hundred joints (all joints), severe lumbar pain, pain of the lateral malleolus.
- Zhongfeng: LV4: contracted sinews, lumbar pain.
“The point at which the qi enters inwards is known as the he-sea”. The he-sea points are situated at or close to the elbow or knee joints. It is here that the channel becomes vast and deep and acquires an inward, centripetal movement. These points are much less dynamic and slower acting than the more distal points, requiring more time to make a change in the qi. In addition to the twelve he-sea points, the fu whose channels lie on the arms each have a lower he-sea point on the leg. Indicated in:
Counterflow qi and diarrhea.
Disease of the stomach and disorders resulting from irregular eating and drinking.
Diseases of the fu: It is primarily the he-sea points of the lower limbs that have an action on the fu.
Diseases of the skin: He-sea points, particularly of the yang channels, are very important in treating skin disorders.
Counterflow qi and diarrhea, disease of the Stomach, and disorders resulting from irregular eating and drinking
The he-sea points of both the yin and yang channels, as well as the lower he-sea points, are some of the most important points for treating disorders of the Stomach and Intestines. It is thought that as the channels reach the elbows and knees, their points have a stronger impact on the center of the body, and therefore the zangfu.
- LU5: vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal distension. These indications reflect the origin of the Lung channel in the middle jiao and its connection with the Large Intestine in the lower jiao.
- LI11: distension and pain of the abdomen, vomiting and diarrhea and dysenteric disorder.
- ST36: the foremost point for harmonizing the Stomach and fortifying the Spleen. Indicated for any type of Spleen or Stomach disease, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- SP9: lack of appetite, diarrhea, dysentery-like disorders and sudden turmoil disorder due to interior or exterior pathogenic dampness.
- HT3: vomiting of foamy or watery saliva.
- UB40: sudden turmoil disorder with abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, and dysenteric disorder.
- KD10: diarrhea, abdominal distension, abdominal pain and periumbilical pain.
- PC3: diarrhea, dysentery-like disorders, and vomiting, especially when due to summer-heat.
- SJ10: vomiting pus and blood, cough with fullness of the abdomen and no desire to eat or drink, distension and pain of the lower abdomen.
- GB34: especially indicated for vomiting due to shaoyang pattern or jaundice.
- LV8: diarrhea containing undigested food and diarrhea containing pus and blood.
- ST37: an essential point for regulating the intestines and clearing damp-heat and is much used for all intestinal diseases, while ST39 is less often used though it has a similar range of actions.
- UB39: distension and fullness of the lower abdomen and constipation.
Diseases of the Fu
Many of the he-sea points have a strong action on the Stomach and Intestines, but those of the lower limb tend to have a wider action on the fu. The he-sea points on the upper limbs of both the yin and yang channels have little effect on the fu in general.
- SP9, KD10, and LV8: the yin he-sea points of the lower limb all strongly drain dampness and damp-heat from the fu or extraordinary fu in the lower jiao, specifically the Bladder, intestines, and uterus.
- GB34 & ST36: the most important points on their channels in treating their related fu. They are equivalent in importance to the shu-stream points on the yin channels for treating the zang.
- ST37: lower he-sea point of the Large Intestine, is an important distal point in the treatment of intestinal disorders.
- UB39: lower he-sea point of the Sanjiao, acts on the qi transforming action of the Bladder and is useful in the treatment of retention of urine or difficult urination.
Diseases of the skin
Certain he-sea points of both the yin and yang channels are indicated in the treatment of skin disorders. Of these, LI11 and UB40 are probably the most important.
- LI11: erysipelas, urticaria, wind rash, dry skin, scaly skin, itching of the skin, shingles, pain and itching of the whole body as if bitten by insects, clove sores on the back.
- UB40: clove sores, erysipelas, eczema, urticaria.
- KD10: itching of the scrotum.
- PC3: wind rash.
- SJ10: urticaria.
- LV8: itching of the genitals.