Question: I have listed the points my acupuncturist used in a recent treatment. Can you explain how she chooses the points and what effect they have? Also can you explain the other terminology below?
Tonify ST 36 LI 11
Tonify SP 6, 2
Sedate LR 2.3
How does my acupuncturist choose which acupuncture points to treat?
Answer: I will do the best I can at explaining this in a short answer. For a longer explanation I recommend you read some introductory books on acupuncture theory such as “The Web that Has No Weaver” or “Between Heaven and Earth.”
Acupuncture is a medicine of patterns, based on inductive logic. Over thousands of years Chinese doctors observed a constellation of symptoms that would frequently occur together. For example, one such pattern might be: feeling cold; low back; pain; excessive urination; loose bowel; slow or empty pulse; pale tongue; pale face; swollen tongue. Then they observed that a certain combination of acupuncture points or herbs would help that condition. The acupuncture points you listed could be used in a great number of health problems–they are commonly used points.
Tonification and sedation refer to a particular needling technique that is used. The choice depends on whether the practitioner determines that an organ or channel is deficient or stagnant.
The terms Wood, Earth, Metal, Fire and Water refer to Five Element theory in Chinese medicine. This and Yin-Yang theory are two theoretical constructs that are used within Chinese medicine.
The most commonly used points are from the elbows to the fingertips and the knees to the toes. These are called command points. The command points are further described according to where they occur on the limb: Ying Spring points are on the fingertips or toes; Shu Stream points are around the wrist and ankle area; Jing River points are further up the limb; He Sea points are at the elbows or knees. The anatomical placement of these points affect the character of the points and their effect on the body.
I hope this short summary has been helpful!