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
In other forms of acupuncture and depending on the training of the practitioner, point-use depends on one or more of the following:
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.
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. (Or maybe we’ve written it but forgotten to put a link to it!)
Si 4 Wangu
Sanjiao – Three Heater
Stay in Touch!
No spam, only notifications about new articles and updates.
Master Ancient Ways to Deal with Stress.
The Ancient Way to Deal with Burnout and Exhaustion.
Book a Video consultation if you want to know more about your symptoms
A basic use is to employ the sheng cycle to identify the mother or child point. Usually the mother point is ‘tonified’ and the child point is ‘sedated’.
For example, if diagnosis leads the acupuncturist to decide that the Gallbladder is deficient, then its mother point, the Water point GB43 Xiaxi would be chosen.
If the Gallbladder were deemed ‘excess’, it would be sedated via its Fire point, Gb38 Yangfu.
If the Liver were deemed excess, one could either sedate it via the sheng cycle – using its Fire point, Liv2 Xingjian, or control it with its Metal point Liv4 Zhongfeng.
Check my collection of books:
Too much food with the Salty taste in Chinese medicine will make you ill. But you need some! Which foods do they mean?
The spicy taste in Chinese medicine adds lightness and energy to your diet, helping your lungs work better. You need some, but not too much!
Foods classified as having a sweet taste in Chinese medicine are vital for health. But too little or too much ‘sweet’ food leads to disease.
Dear Dr. I am reading some of the books and you really simplify the subject so we understand it. In India there are no acupuncture schools but some teachers were teaching very basics of acupuncture. Now acupuncture is legally allowed and then we will have to give a simple exam for which we study on internet for the meanings of different terms and theories. So thank you very much that you are not hiding the knowledge.
Hi Kiran, I’m glad you find this Element Acupuncture points page useful.
I trained first in Five Elements acupuncture, then studied TCM theory and practice in China and in the UK, so I know how they differ.
Five Elements acupuncture is more subtle and doesn’t have immediate solutions for syndromes, channel problems and acute conditions like TCM, but can be immensely powerful and, for practitioners, fulfilling. It is, in my experience, harder to learn and to practise but repays effort.
Thank you for your contribution!
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Subscribe to the Newsletter
If you are interested in understanding how Traditional Chinese Medicine can improve your life sign up to my newsletter for the latest updates.