Acupuncture points are also called acupoints. They are located on the body that are the focus of acupuncture, acupressure, sonopuncture and laser acupuncture treatment. There are hundreds of acupuncture points along the body’s 14 major meridians, or energy-carrying channels. Sixteenth century Chinese doctors used the term “Qi” to describe the energy that circulates through meridians. The belief is that illness is caused by a disruption of Qi, which leads to an imbalance of energy. Acupuncture can correct this energy disruption.
Acupoints used in treatment may or may not be in the same area of the body as the targeted symptom. The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory for the selection of such points and their effectiveness is that they work by stimulating the meridian system to bring about relief by rebalancing yin, yang and qi (also spelled “chi” or “ki”). This theory is based on the paradigm of TCM and has no analogue in western medicine.
Body acupoints are referred to either by their traditional name, or by the name of the meridian on which they are located, followed by a number to indicate what order the point is in on the meridian. A common point on the hand, for example, is named Hegu, and referred to as LI 4 which means that it is the fourth point on the Large Intestine meridian. Some points are considered more therapeutically valuable than others, and are used very frequently for a wide array of health conditions.
Each acupuncture point has one or more specific effects on some aspect of the body. Some act primarily in the area of the body near to the point. Others can have effects on the far side of the body. Still others have a systematic effect on the body. Using the science of Chinese medicine an acupuncturist knows which points to select to achieve a particular effect on the body that will bring it back to a state of health.