Element points lie between elbow and finger-tip or knee and toe-tip. They hugely enhance other acupuncture strategies.
Warning! This page is rather abstract, and is here really only for reference. If you’re new to all this stuff, don’t start here! Click here perhaps for something more digestible.
Although so distal from problems in the head and body, for thousands of years experience has shown their importance for health.
One school of acupuncture, the Five Elements school, emphasises them in both diagnosis and treatment. However, the way they use and recognise their importance is very different to that in modern TCM Theory.
In Five Element thinking the element point is identified and used variously according to the
- causative factor in the patient
- category of the point (eg Fire point, or Water point)
- relationship to other elements via the sheng or ke cycle
- meaning of its name
- season of the year
- time of day
Other types of acupuncture
In other forms of acupuncture and depending on the training of the practitioner, point-use depends on one or more of the following:
- energetic description of the point
- channel theory
- action of the point as discovered over the centuries
- known clinical application often in combination with other points
- name of the point
- relationship to other zang-fu via the sheng or ke cycles
So there is some overlap, but in Five Elements theory any of the element points may be equally relevant, whereas in modern general acupuncture some points are hardly or seldom used. For example, jing-well points, those at the extreme ends of the channels on either fingertips or toes, are used more often in Five Element treatment.
Also, the needle size is usually different, and so is the acupuncture technique, being much more elaborated in general acupuncture theory. Five element practitioners typically use fewer and thinner needles and a very simple needle technique.
Comparison Element point with Transport point theory
Another way of understanding and using the Element points comes from Transport point theory.
Although referring to exactly the same points listed below, each is regarded as having a specific purpose which depends on its position in the channel starting distally and reaching proximally to knee or elbow.
The tables below also include the Luo-connecting or ‘junction’ points for each channel although, strictly speaking, they are not element points.
In Yin channels the Earth point is also the channel’s source point.
For Yang channels, the source points are listed in the left-hand column.
If the point is not in red, indicating a link to a fuller description, we have not yet written a page on that point.
Yin channel element points