At the lateral end of the elbow crease when the forearm is flexed, approximately half-way between Chize, Lung point 5, and the lateral epicondyle of the humerus.
Finding and Needling QuChi
The best way to find Large Intestine point 11 is to bend your arm and rest your hand flat (palm down) over the centre of your chest. The point is almost always at the highest part of the muscle at the lateral end of the elbow crease.
Of course, in very emaciated or thin patients, there may be no discernible muscle bulge: in that case divide the distance between the lateral epicondyle of the humerus and the biceps tendon into three. The point is approximately one-third towards the biceps tendon from the epicondyle, but you may need to search around for it.
Also, in very thin patients, the point may lie deeper (if old or tired) or more superficial (in younger or more vigorous patients) than you expect. And in the former, more tired individuals, think carefully before stimulating the point too much: a little and often is usually better.
However, to find the point the direction of needling is important. It should be perpendicular to the skin, though it isn’t always: sometimes the point is more towards Heart point 3, Shaohai.
The needle can also be directed towards Chize, Lung point 5 which has some qualities that are shared with Large Intestine point 11.
Needling Sensation for QuChi
The sensation is usually local, a slight numbing ache in the area of the point. But stimulating it more strongly makes the sensation extend down to the fingers in one direction and up to the shoulder in the other.
Like Hegu, Large Intestine point 4, the point can be strong enough to send qi up to the neck and face if you know how.
Moxa on Large Intestine Point 11
Although many skin diseases arise from heat, moxa (moxibustion) on this point or on a needle at this point can provide the stimulus needed to make the point more effective.
For deficient or cold conditions, of course, moxa at this point repeatedly (up to 20 times) can greatly improve chronic diarrhoea caused by Cold.
Actions of Large Intestine Point 11
Large Intestine point 11 is mainly used to clear Heat and Wind, Damp, Fire and Fire poison. It does this probably by clearing heat from the intestines, thereby cooling the Blood.
Clearing Heat from the intestines, if this is how it works, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get improvement immediately because it takes time, so allow hours or a day or so before deciding whether the point did the job.
Also, treatment may have to be repeated a number of times: in China they do it daily for weeks on end. (So much for not over-needling a point!)
It regulates the Blood, it adjusts and harmonises the fluids, Qi and Blood. Using it this way, it can greatly improve the action of other points in a carefully designed treatment.
By clearing Heat it can usually also clear Damp, for example in the intestines and appearing on the skin, so reducing itch. Whether Heat or Damp comes first isn’t always clear, but Heat can prevent the movement of fluids, causing Damp.
As it clears Heat, indirectly it helps to tonify Kidney Yin.
This point is a classic point for skin diseases which involve either Lungs or Internal Heat.
It also moves Qi along the channel, so easing pain, and is a major point for joints, like Spleen 5.
How does Heat manifest so that Quchi can be used for it?
Skin problems, including:
itching (anywhere on the body),
How Does Heat Appear?
Heat also appears as high fever, or residual fevers that continue after the underlying illness has cleared. Useful when the body gets ‘confused’ by Wind and Heat such as when there is thirst but on drinking there is sweating, though the skin is hot and dry when not drinking.
Heat appears in many ways, not just as skin rashes, but as redness and inflammation, for example in the throat, and as red-eye or painful eyes with inflammation of the sclera or eyelids (eg blepharitis), ear pain, toothache etc.
In the abdomen, it can appear as distension, constipation or offensive stools, vomiting and diarrhoea, dysentery type problems.
For women, Heat can appear as early menses with heavy bleeding, or as no menses at all – amenorrhoea. However, there are other points which might be used for menstrual problems.
As it helps to clear Wind, it can be used for hemiplegia following stroke, sudden cramping, difficulty speaking from rushing emotions, agitation, mania, sudden dizziness.
As it reduces Wind and Heat and helps to tonify Kidney yin it can be useful for hypertension.
It is also used to clear Damp and Heat in the neck and head, manifesting as swelling in the throat or neck (for example of the thyroid gland, or in tonsillitis or mumps), heat around or in the eyes, with lachrimation.
Concerning its effect along the large intestine channel, it can help alleviate pain, numbness or cramping anywhere along the channel, for example in the wrist, the elbow, the upper arm, shoulder and neck.
To some extent it can also be used for similar pains along the Stomach channel in the hip, thigh, knee and lower leg.
Although it is in ‘Five element theory‘ the tonification point, being the Earth point on the channel, it isn’t much used for that, (though I have used it for this purpose). But the next point Yuji, Large Intestine 10, is often used for tonifying the channel, being in a similar location on the arm as is Zusanli, Stomach point 36, on the leg.
Yuji is usually less effective than Zusanli.
Using Acupuncture on Quchi
If you think you need to have this point used on you, do please see an experienced acupuncturist rather than try to do it yourself. For one thing, the acupuncturist will be more objective about it and may have a better suggestion for your health. Also, he or she will know how deep to go, and how strongly to use the needle. (And, he probably won’t pass out when using it, although I’ve never seen anyone pass out from its use – but it does happen!)
Large Intestine point 11 is also useful where there is emaciation with weakness of the elbow and forearm.
Large Intestine point 11, Quchi, is possibly equal tops for clearing heat and Fire. This can also manifest in mental agitation and mania, a classic symptom of which is ‘thrusting tongue’, when the individual keeps extending his tongue out of his mouth, almost like a snake sensing the air. I’ve seen this also in patients who had deficient Liver pulses after extended use of social drugs.
This excess Yang causes headaches and dizziness, symptoms which nowadays often point to hypertension, for which this point is also sometimes effective.