How does the Acupuncturist choose the points to treat & cure?

The art and logic the practitioner uses to decide which acupuncture points (acu-points) to help a particular patient’s condition is very complex indeed.

Acupuncture is a 5000 year old science, with centuries of empirical knowledge.   When treating a particular issue, a practitioner may treat at the site of the problem, or away from the site of the problem, or at a different site altogether.  And all of these treatments may work.  Additionally, what works for one person may be different than what works for another.  And what works one time for that same person one day may be different than what works the next time for the same person and for the same problem.   This is because the acu-points are not static… but dynamic and alive.

When a patient sees me for acupuncture care, I evaluate many things:

  • where the problem is
  • how long it has existed
  • how severe it is
  • how robust and healthy the person is

This all relates to the points I choose.  My needle technique may be very gentle, or it may be stronger, depending on the patient’s tolerance level, sensitivity in general, and trust in me and the therapy.
Let’s take for example a headache.  Someone with a sinus headache will generally do well with treating the area itself that causes pain, then adding points that help clear mucus, clear fever and chills if these are the accompanying signs and symptoms, and help the cough if he or she has that too. I will also needle points for fatigue if needed, or immunity as necessary.

Now let’s consider a migraine.  I typically get better results treating away from the head, for example using points on the hands, feet, or back, and this makes the migraine go away.

If someone wants health maintenance, I usually treat that with eight points: two on each limb, below elbows and knees.  Someone that just was involved in a motor vehicle collision, I often will go down the spine and needle every third painful vertebral area.

Last week I successfully treated panic disorder with two points only.  I did very mild technique which was perfect for this individual.

You can see how each treatment is unique.


At some point the successful practitioner begins to use his or her intuition to help guide the treatment.  How do we explain the logic of intuition?  Here is how I discovered intuition in my own practice.  One day I realized that I was currently using similar acupuncture treatments, with similar acupuncture points on patients, but getting better results than previously.  How could this be, I asked myself?  I realized that my intention had slowly changed, and this coupled with the acupuncture was obtaining superior results.  This I discovered, was the beginning of intuition.

Over time patients reported feeling the energy at the points before I even started making physical contact with the needle to the acu-point, because my intention with the point was already being activated spontaneously.

Now the treatment is such that the more I get to know the patient, the more points will come to my consciousness, and this guides my point selection.  And the logic of these points is there in my brain also, but it works in tandem with the intuitive knowledge.

There is a famous saying with those that are martial artists when they have mastered the qi relationship with their opponent:  “If I move, you move; if you move, I move first”.  This means that qi is exchanged in the subtle field and this subtle field acts faster than the physical world. The subtle level, which is the level of the qi flowing in the acu-points is a spontaneous phenomenon.

I once treated someone for phantom limb pain.  The limb had been amputated, but the pain of the limb was still there.  In other words, the qi energy flow was still blocked.  I treated her where the limb was not.  With a needle.  Over the open space.  Intuition?  Yes.  Paranormal?  Undoubtedly.  Results?  100% effective.  Logical?  Absolutely, but not in anyway modern science can explain.

This is how I choose my acupuncture points.

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