Magnolia Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic

Abdominal Acupuncture

Abdominal Acupuncture

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“First, modify the patient's diet and lifestyle and only then, if these do not effect a cure, treat with medicinals and acupuncture.” ~Sun Simiao


According to TCM, each organ has its channels and points. Then you have vessels that may borrow points from these channels. You then have extra points, family lineage points to emperical points. Each point is specifically selected for it's functions. Local Ashi points, which are tender points, are often sometimes also selected. With this in mind, distal points can also be chosen to derive at the same result.

In eastern medicine, it is believed that every internal and external organ has a paired organ and each has an extension that stems out onto the skin. These channels may cross one another like roads on a map. Two channels may cross to even three or more and reach beyond their local designated area. Some points of a different channel could even represent a channel not its own. There are many others but the front-Mu and back-Shu (transporting) points are examples of this. Anatomically, these points and channels travel along the nervous system and major veins and arteries to rise at their location on the skin.

Because of the channel's interconnectivity and extension, each body area or part can be said to be a mini representation of the entire body. There are many. A few examples are auricalar, hand, foot to the abdominal microsystems. Which points to select for inserting filiforms or acupuncture needles relies on TCM diagnosis.

Pulse diagnosis along with addressed condition(s) typically guide the selection of appropriate abdominal points. In general, every point selected can produce positive results regardless of their location. Added to this, there are some things distal points can't do yet abdominal points can.

For example, there's a treatment called "Bringing Qi Home" which, by nourishing both pre-heaven and post-heaven qi, invigorates the kidneys and spleen.

Our life force and essence, or qi, is said to originate from the Dantian, a spot located slightly below the navel, after we are born. Before birth, we rely on our mothers qi or energy for sustenance via the umbilical cord. In brief, pre-heaven qi is transferred to the baby from the mother via the umbilicus before birth for survival. Pre-heaven qi will exist even after birth but will eventually deplete from external and internal pathogenic attacks. Pathogenic attacks typically comes from the elements, eating habits to stressors in life. Pathogenic attacks thus ultimately affects the body's internal yin-yang balance.

Post-heaven qi is qi derived from food after birth. It is replenished with food. This qi helps the body process food and, based on how it moves or when it's blocked, affects emotions.

It is believed that when qi of each organ is not situatated where it should be, flow smoothly or adequately, an imbalance causes illnesses to arise. "Bringing Qi Home" points can help guide this qi back to its origin. This aims to help the spleen and kidney function better since they are key components involved in the formation or production of qi which, according to TCM, is needed to create blood, and blood is necessary for life.

A major uniqueness of this abdominal acupuncture method, and its role in this process, is that, when certain point combinations are used, it can tap into pre-heaven qi. It can't restore pre-heaven qi completely but may help. However, results from person to person may vary based on each person's unique condition pattern(s). But in short, this can be one explanation or thought process to explain how abdominal acupuncture can holistically help the body.


Cheng, X. (1987). Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion: Chief editor Cheng Xinnong. Foreign Languages Press.

Paul Ryan, M. (2009, September). A comprehensive introduction to abdominal acupuncture. Acupuncture Today.

Nugent-Head, A. (2021, April 27). Intro to Gut Health: Classical Chinese Medicine Approaches to Modern Day Challenges [Lecture notes].

Maciocia, G. (2015). The foundations of Chinese medicine: A comprehensive text. Elsevier.

Tan, S. G. (2018, August 11). Abdominal acupuncture Ancient turtle map and Ba Gua [Lecture notes]. AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine.

Today's date: 06/25/2024

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