Traditional Chinese Medicine Newsletter 3


Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles, frequently no thicker than a human hair, into specific points in the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine theory holds that there are meridians or channels in our body through which energy flows. These channels connect with the Zang Fu Organs as well as with all the body’s other structures. The free flow of energy through these channels ensures good health. There are specific acupuncture points in precise locations on each channel and they each have a special function. In other words, Traditional Chinese Medicine has identified specific points that treat Patterns of Disharmony in our bodies.

All acupuncture points have local effects and are useful for the treatment of pain or dysfunction in a specific area. Other acupuncture points have general effects on the body as a whole or treat specific patterns. For example, one of the most famous points in acupuncture, the Zu San Li, can be used to tonify (increase the amount of) Qi or depending on how it is needled, to break up blood stasis in the chest.

The effects of acupuncture points depend not only on the function of the points, but also on how they are needled and the depth at which they are needled. There are many different needling methods and techniques, as well as the variations to the depth or recommended depth of the needling. Again as an example the Zu San Li point is needled at a moderate depth and the needling technique is one of gentle tonification. To break up blood stasis in the chest, the point is needled more deeply and usually requires a strong sedating or dispersing technique. It is important that a practitioner in the art of acupuncture is well versed and trained in the technique of needling and the depths of insertion, but must also master the location of all the meridian or channel points in the body.

Needles are not the only way to affect acupuncture points. The use of these following different techniques depends on the symptoms treated and the overall Pattern of Disharmony.

  • A special herb called moxa maybe burned over the point to heat it up.
  • Electrical stimulation maybe applied to the needle
  • Massage techniques known as Tui Na may be used
  • Suction cups maybe applied
  • A few drops of blood maybe taken from the points.

While each point in the body has a Chinese name, they have also been given numerical designations on each channel according to the direction in which the Qi in the meridian are said to flow. Hence points of the stomach channel are numbered I through 45, and the points on the large intestine channel are numbered 1-20.

All in all there are about 361 classical acupuncture points on the channels. There are hundreds of points with numerous uses throughout the human body, with additional points and systems in the hand, foot and the ear that can be utilised too.

If acupuncture treatment is appropriate, acupuncture needles maybe inserted with or without a tube in strategic acupuncture locations. In most acupuncture traditions, the needles are manipulated to get the “de qi” a dull heavy or electric sensation that patients feel at the site of the acupuncture needle and frequently running down the meridian. Needles must be sterile and in most cases, are single-use, meaning that they are disposed off after use. Acupuncture is a low risk procedure and is not painful. Most individuals for whom acupuncture is appropriate find it to be a very pleasant experience.

Doctor Zhang Yao Hua, our resident acupuncturist has more than 30 years of experience behind her and has treated most problems that can be cured with acupuncture. Her success in treating patients with problematic issues are well known and it is our privilege to have her expertise in Singapore. Should you have a problem that you feel we can help you with, please see Doctor Zhang and consult her on the methods of potential treatment.