In Chinese medicine, the body is viewed very much so from an energy perspective. Acupuncture body points are one example of this as is their manipulation for health.
Acupuncture Body Points
The theory behind acupuncture has to do with the movement of a poorly defined force called qi that moves through the body on a series of pathways known as Meridian Channels. Along certain of these channels there are very shallow points known as acupuncture points. Stimulation of these points by the use of small gauge needles, pressure, or heat can redirect or increase the flow of qi. Qi is also known as vital energy. When the flow of qi is as it should be, the body is healthy. When the flow is disrupted or blocked, a person becomes ill. Pain is thought to be caused by blockage of the normal flow of qi.
It is because these acupuncture body points do not correspond to any observable anatomical features that acupuncture is sometimes thought to be, at the very best, a placebo type of treatment. In other words, people feel better because they think they are better. There is a description of a sensation when body points are needled and the qi flow is enhanced.
There are 12 main Meridian channels and 8 extra ones. Only two of the extra channels have their own acupuncture points. The others are stimulated by the use of points located on two or more of the main channels. The 12 main channels run vertically, symmetrically, and bilaterally through the body. Each corresponds to one of twelve organs known as the Zung Fu organs. There are 3 yin channels and 3 yang channels that originate in each arm and 3 yin channels and 3 yang channels that originate in each leg.
There are five points along the channels that use an analogy of a river. These are the Five Transporting Points. The Jing-well point is where the qi bubbles up as if from a spring. The Ying-Spring point is where the qi first begins to glide down the channel. At the Shu-Stream point the qi is beginning to pour down the channel. The Jing-River point is where the flow is deep and full. Finally, the He-Sea point is where the qi collects and heads deep into the body.
Each of these points also relates to an element. Jing-Well is wood; Ying-Spring is fire; Shu-Stream is earth; Jing-River is metal; He-Sea is earth. There is another set of points that are important in the acupuncture body map. The Xi-Cleft is the point where blood and qi gather. The Yuan-Source point is where yuan qi is accessed. The Luo-Connecting point is where Meridians known as luo Meridians diverge from main Meridians. The Back-Shu points are along each side of the spine. The Front-Mu points are very close to their respective organ. Lastly, there are a group of 8 Hui-Meeting points that have a special effect on tissues and organs. The art of treatment via acupuncture involves the use of the appropriate body points in combinations that are arrived at by a diagnoses process known as the Four Examinations.