Empirical Acupuncture Points

Empirical Points-Combinations There are dozens of points-combinations in acupuncture which have emerged through sheer clinical experience. Every practitioner, who has spent a considerable length of time in clinical work, has probably noticed that some points yield better results when combined with certain points. It is only logical that after so many generations of accumulated experience in the field of acupuncture, such empirical combinations have become the inheritance of the majority of practitioners.

In comparison with the other forms of points-combinations that have so far been detailed, this form lacks their theoretical background in most cases. Nevertheless, clinical success is, after all, the ultimate judge, and thus, these combinations have earned their position in clinical work.

Here are a few examples of points-combinations whose source is entirely empirical:

  1. The addition of Sibai (ST-2) to the combination of Dannangxue (extra), Tianshsu (ST-25) and Guanyuan (CV-4), have a great soothing effect on biliary ascariasis. Manipulating Sibai in a sedative fashion, usually eliminates the very sharp pain which this illness causes (16). There is no theoretical explanation for this phenomenon.
  2. Hegu (LI-4) on the opposite side, combined with Liangqiu(ST-34) on the affected side, is a quick relief for strained muscles or tendons of the knee Joint (usually due to sport injury). In order to obtain the full effect of this combination, one should first puncture Hegu, at an oblique angle towards the metacarpal bones, two Cun deep, and then manipulate Liangqiu to cause numbness or distension around the knee (17).
  3. Shaoze (SI-1) has an undeniable influence on the breasts. Hence, all breast diseases, including agalactia (lack of milk), are treated with the aid of this point. When combining Taiyang (extra) to Shaoze (SI-1), we make an effective points-combination for swollen breasts. This formula's source is also classical (Song of the Jade Dragon Ca. 1500) (18).

It is worthwhile mentioning, in this connection, that many empirical combinations include extra points, and there are a few that are composed entirely of extra points. The reason for this is clear. Since extra points themselves have originated from clinical experience, and in many cases as Ahshi points, they lack the theoretical basis that most of the meridians' points have. It is no wonder then, that many empirical combinations include extra points, for they too have originated from clinical observation.

Example No. 3 (above) may illustrate this phenomenon, or this very popular combination:

Yintang (extra), Shenmen (H-7), Sanyinjiao (SP-6).

This formula is often used to calm the mind, especially in cases of insomnia (19), or mental anxiety.

Shenmen and SanyinJiao harmonize Fire and Water elements, or Heart and Kidney functions, while Yintang places an emphasis on calming the mind. Thus, an extra point (Yintang) contributes to the principal effect of the two meridian points, with its empirically-found soothing properties.

"A moment of peace in the mist of difficulty. Make use of the occasion for rest while preparing within for further challenges."