The majority of acupuncture points are located on the “twelve main meridians” and on two of the “eight extra meridians” a total of “fourteen channels”, which are described in classical Chinese medical texts as pathways through which Qi and “Blood” flow. There also exist points not belonging to any channel. Other tender points (“ashi points”) may also be needled as they are believed to be where stagnation has gathered.
The 12 Channels correspond to systems of function:
• Large Intestine
• Small Intestine
• San Jiao (an intangible, also known as Triple Burner)
• Gall Bladder
8 Extraordinary Pathways
(Qi Jing Ba Mai),The 8 Extraordinary Pathways (Qi Jing Ba Mai), the Luo Vessels, the Divergents and the Sinew Channels.
Ashi (tender) points are generally used for treatment of local pain – in Western use these are very popular.
Of the eight extraordinary pathways, only two(the Ren Mai and Du Mai )have acupuncture points of their own situated on the midline of the anterior and posterior aspects of the trunk and head respectively. The other six are activated by using a master / couple point technique where the acupuncture point(s) needled is located on the twelve main meridians that correspond to the particular extraordinary pathway.
The twelve primary pathways run vertically, bilaterally, and symmetrically and every channel corresponds to and connects internally with one of the twelve Zang Fu (“organs”). Thus there equal(6) numbers of yin and six yang channels. There are three yin and three yang channels on each arm and on each leg.
The (3) yin channels of the hand (Lung, Pericardium, and Heart) start on the chest and continue along the inner surface (predominantly the anterior portion) of the arm to the hand.
The (3)yang channels of the hand (Large intestine, San Jiao, and Small intestine) start on the hand and continue along the outer surface (mostly the posterior portion) of the arm to the head.
The (3)yin channels of the foot (Spleen, Liver, and Kidney) start on the foot and continue along the inner surface (mostly posterior and medial portion) of the leg to the chest.
The (3)yang channels of the foot (Stomach, Gallbladder, and Urinary Bladder) start on the face, in the region of the eye, and continue down the body and along the outer surface (mostly the anterior and lateral portion) of the leg to the foot.