What are ‘entry exit points’?
(By the way! This is really of more interest to acupuncturists than ordinary mortals but even ordinary mortals sometimes get interested!)
These points lie on acupuncture channels, at or towards the beginning or end of the channel.
In the 24-hour cycle during which Qi is said to circulate through all the channels, it leaves each channel at its exit point and proceeds to the entry point of the next channel.
Here is a list of the generally accepted points:
1. In most cases the first and last points on an acupuncture channel (or meridian) are where the qi respectively enters or leaves the channel.
But not always: some traditions of acupuncture – for example the Japanese tradition – maintain that there are some important exceptions: LU-7, LI-4, ST-42, KI-22, P-8, SJ-22, GB-41. You’ll see that these points are used in the table above.
2. The Original Source Material for Entry Exit points
The original book on which traditional acupuncture theory and treatment is based is called the Ling Shu (written probably 2200 years ago).
Chapter 16 there describes the movement of qi round the circuit made by the meridians, each of which is a link in a continuous chain. Where a channel connects with the next one is through the exit point of the first channel and the entry point of the second.
Ensuring that no blockage remains between the end of one channel and the start of the next is considered very important in the Five Elements acupuncture system.
3. Balancing Channels
They provide another way to balance the channels between themselves. For instance, often Liver qi
is high and acting to the disadvantage or detriment of Lung qi
which is deficient. There are various ways to balance out these two channels and their respective levels of qi. The treatment might first need to deal with any Qi stagnation
Using the entry exit points (in this case, Qimen LIV-14 and Zhongfu LU-1 provides another, often simpler and more elegant method.
4. Pulse Diagnosis is a clue to a blockage
We suspect an entry exit point obstruction either from pulse diagnosis when there is a clear mismatch between the pulse energies or qualities between two consecutive channels on the circuit, or when a series of treatments stops working with a patient.
Many acupuncturists are never taught this method so don’t notice it or know how to treat it.
5. Excess in one may mean deficiency in the next
Excess energy in one channel pulse and deficiency in the next channel pulse suggest this treatment. Each channel has its own set of symptoms so these may be suggestive.
6. Or a pair could be squeezed between two obstructions
Where two consecutive channels always have the same energy or pulse quality it suggests that there may an obstruction between these channels and the one before or the one after them.
For instance if Large Intestine and Stomach pulse qualities and size remain the same, the acupuncturist might consider using the exit point of the Lung meridian and the entry point of the Large Intestine meridian, or using the exit point of the Stomach channel and the entry point of the Spleen channel.
This is because the Lung and Spleen channels are respectively before and after the Large Intestine and Stomach channel duo.
7. Entry exit points can be useful ways to regulate a channel
Both tonifying and sedating a channel and its qi can be achieved by using the entry exit points either together or individually. For example, a channel’s entry point might be used to tonify the qi of the channel and indirectly that of its related zangfu organ.
Many entry exit points lie at or near your fingertips
8. However, in eight of the channels the entry points lie at or near the finger or toe tips and are often painful. They would certainly awake the qi, but might stimulate the patient too much (!). So we use them less, or an adjacent point instead.
Similarly, in women, the first point of the Pericardium, P-1, Tainchi, lies 1 cun lateral to the centre of her nipple so may not be appropriate to use, in which case P-2 Tianquan might be used instead.
This suggests that at the end of some channels, several points might be used to ease the Qi flow out of the first channel towards the second channel. Or perhaps this only applies to points on the torso, but I’m inclined to think this applies more to points at the extremities, ie on the hand or foot.
9. Causes of blockages at Entry Exit pionts
Accidents, surgery and other blocks impede free movements of qi both along channels and between one and the next. (They usually also cause Blood Stasis.)
Entry Exit points supply a way to stimulate free movement of qi in these cases. Sometimes use of an appropriate entry or exit point can make a huge difference to a patient’s health.
10. Skin problems may suggest a problem
Similarly, skin irritation or signs of discomfort in the area between two consecutive meridians also suggest this treatment.
For example, a patient who had been making rather slow progress for a while one day said that despite many visits to her dentist, with X-rays and other investigations, she still suffered from mild ongoing toothache on her left side.
The location was close to the end of the Small Intestine channel on that side, and I noticed that her left eye was less open than the other.
I probably should have noticed before, but, well… !
On checking her pulses I realised that her Small intestine pulse seemed stronger than her Bladder pulse. I treated her left Small Intestine channel exit point and her left Bladder channel entry point. This returned equality to the pulses.
She later reported that the pain never returned. (Whether her left eye opened more I don’t recall: sorry.)
11. Effect of Zangfu on Entry Exit points
When disease or symptoms appear in two zangfu that are consecutive on the qi circuit, this treatment may be a solution.
12. How to treat Entry Exit points?
Normally the points are treated bilaterally, even if the problem is on one side only.
13. What about conflicts of purpose
Exit entry point use sometimes conflicts with the apparent purpose of the points from other points of view.
For example, Shaochang HE-9 is the exit point of the Heart channel. Also, being its Wood point, He-9 is its tonification point in the 5 element (or phase) system view.
Suppose, the Heart energy was too high and the Small Intestine pulse energy too low, one might think that using HE-9 would tonify Heart qi still further.
Relax! Used with the Small Intestine SI-1 as exit-entry points it works just fine and the Heart qi disperses and balances out nicely.
14. A Special Case – eg Wind-Cold invasion
In one case, (Large Intestine and Lung), exit entry points may be used together for other purposes. For example, such as when there is an invasion of Wind-cold.
15. If it works?
After being successfully used as entry exit points, there is normally an excellent change in the patient’s treatment progress.