Luo-connecting or Junction points

Luo-connecting points, also known as ‘junction’ points, can be used in all sorts of ways: a really important type of point.
Photo by Clint Adair on Unsplash

Luo-connecting points, sometimes also known as ‘junction‘ points, lie on acupuncture channels, one per channel.

Each of these points is where a separate, secondary channel rises from the primary acupuncture channel. Where it goes shows you at least one important way the point can be used.

These luo-connecting points have other functions, both superficial and deep, well worth knowing about if you’re an acupuncturist.

If you’re not an acupuncturist or student of acupuncture, this page probably won’t be useful. However, some of my patients think that knowing more about all this helps them understand their condition more easily. So here it is.

To make more sense of this, best to read first the page on luo-connecting channels.

Depth of Needling

Some luo-connecting points, like Lung point 7, Lieque, have little flesh under them so deep needling is not possible, although one can needle shallowly – ie transversely – along under the skin a good distance, of course.

Others, like Stomach 40, below, are in quite muscular locations.

 

Stomach 40 luo connecting point of Stomach channel
Stomach 40

 

Usually, if the problem is of recent origin or acute, shallow needling, indeed VERY shallow needling, is better.

Deeper needling may apply to the treatment of conditions where the luo-connecting channel extends to organs (zang-fu) or locations in the trunk or on the head.

Location of luo-connecting points

All of them are discrete points on the primary channels. However, in the original sense, luo points might lie anywhere along a channel where there was, for example, swelling or ‘excess’.

The specific points we now use as luo-connecting points seem to have considerable influence on swellings or strains along their channels, so can be added to assist treatment at ‘ahsi’ – painful – points.

But they have great influence on how qi functions, in many ways.

Pathways and Uses

When reading the following, bear in mind that each of the luo-connecting points has a whole range of other properties, which you can read about by clicking the link to the point.What follows on this page are the pathway and symptoms connected with their being luo-connecting points. You could say that each luo-connecting channel has a kind of central control HQ: its luo-connecting point.

Spleen luo path and symptoms

The Spleen luo pathway joins up with its partner primary channel, that of the Stomach. It then extends from Spleen 4 up to the abdomen, connecting with the intestines and the stomach. This contributes to why this point is so effective for treating abdominal pain and discomfort. This may also be partly why this point is the Master point for the Chong Mo Extraordinary vessel.

  • Symptoms of Fullness: sticking or lancinating pain in the intestines; abdominal pain

  • Symptoms of Qi stagnation from Qi deficiency: drum-like distension of the abdomen

  • Emptiness: distension of the abdomen

  • Symptoms of counterflow qi: symptoms like those of cholera or food-poisoning

  • Symptoms of Blood stasis in this channel: abdominal pain and blood in the stools

  • Cold: dislike of cold, fever; heaviness in the abdomen, diarrhoea

  • For more, see Spleen 4.

Heart luo path and symptoms

 

Heart - base of luo conectting point
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

 

The Heart luo pathway extends from Tongli, Heart 5, to join up with its partner channel, that of the Small Intestine. It then  proceeds up the Heart primary acupuncture channel to the heart, and from there continues to the tongue and the eyes. 

  • Symptoms of Fullness: sense of fullness and pressure in the chest and diaphragm

  • Symptoms of Emptiness: loss of speech – unable to speak 

Bladder luo path and symptoms

The Bladder luo pathway starts at Bladder 58, Feiyang. It then joins up with its partner channel, that of the Kidney. 

  • Symptoms of Fullness: nose feels congested, with a clear discharge, headache, back pain: these are all possible acute symptoms of invasion of Wind-Cold

  • Symptoms of Emptiness: clear nasal discharge, with epistaxis

Kidney luo path and symptoms

The Kidney luo pathway starts at Kidney 4, Dazhong. It then circles round the heel and joins up with its partner channel, that of the Bladder. It extends up the Kidney channel to the Pericardium, then flows downwards to spread out over the lumbar vertebrae.

  • Symptoms of Fullness: constipation and urinary retention

  • Symptoms of Emptiness: low backache

  • Counterflow qi: depressed, irritable; sense of heaviness on the chest

Three-Heater luo path and symptoms

The Three-Heater luo pathway starts at Three Heater 5, then extends up the posterior surface of the arm to the shoulder. From there it travels to the centre of the chest to connect with the Pericardium. 

  • Symptoms of Fullness: elbow spasms

  • Symptoms of Emptiness: weak, flaccid muscles in the arm

Gall-bladder luo path and symptoms

The Gallbladder luo pathway starts at Gallbladder 37, then joins up with its partner channel, that of the Liver. It then travels downwards and spreads out in the dorsum of the foot.

  • Symptoms of Fullness: fainting. There would almost certainly be other symptoms too! Fainting may due to a number of syndromes in Chinese medicine.

  • Symptoms of Emptiness: weakness and loss of tone in the lower limbs and feet, and great difficulty standing up from a sitting position 

Liver luo path and symptoms

The Liver luo pathway begins at Liver 5, Ligou, then joins up with its partner channel, that of the Gallbladder. It then extends up to the genitals.

  • Symptoms of Fullness: swollen testes; hernia in the groin

  • Symptoms of Emptiness: intensive genital/pubic itching

  • Counterflow qi: abnormal erections, eg priapism

  • Damp: dislike of cold, fever; hypogastric heaviness; urge to urinate, with burning pain during urination.

  • For more, see Liver 5.

Conception Vessel luo path and symptoms

The Conception Vessel luo pathway starts at Conception Vessel 15, from where it spreads out over the abdomen. 

  •  Symptoms of Fullness: pain in the skin of the abdomen

  • Symptoms of Emptiness: itching skin of the abdomen

Governing Vessel luo path and symptoms

The Governing Vessel luo pathway begins at Governor 1, Changqiang. It then flows up on either side of the spine to the neck. From there it spreads over the occiput and disperses at the vertex.In the upper back, it connects with the Bladder channel. From here it enters the spine.

  • Symptoms of Fullness: rigid or stiff back, held so erect that it may lean backwards

  • Symptoms of Emptiness: heaviness of the head, and/or shaking of the head, unable to hold it still

Great Spleen luo path and symptoms

The Great Spleen luo pathway starts at Spleen 21, Dabao and from there disperses in the chest and hypochondrium. 

  • Symptoms of Fullness: aches and pains all over the body and limbs, often with stiffness

  • Symptoms of Emptiness: looseness of the joints, weakness of the muscles of the limbs

 

Great Connecting luo-pathway of the Stomach

The Great luo-connecting channel of the Stomach is said to start in the chest, go through the diaphragm, connect to the lungs and exit or disperse under the left breast. Symptoms in these areas seem to benefit from treatment at Stomach 40.

Bear in mind that the Lung channel commences in the region of the stomach: the Lungs and the Stomach have a very close relationship, to my mind, at least.

  • Symptoms of Fullness: fast or irregular breathing; sensation of a knot in the chest

Comment on Luo-Connecting points

1. One way of using these luo-connecting points is in transferring energy from one side of the body to the other.

Tonifying a luo-connecting point on one side of the body and dispersing it on the other can sometimes help to balance the flow of Qi along the channels, by strengthening it on the first side and easing it out on the second.

At least, so it seems to me when it works: it doesn’t always! Also, sometimes it works even if just one side is so treated.

2. These Luo-Connecting channels are quite different to the Divergent channels. Although there is some connection between them I’ve never found it relevant in treating people.

3. Because the luo-connecting channels work at different depths, in treating them with acupuncture it is important to needle to the correct depth and in the correct way. This is quite a big subject, and applies as much to points lying along the primary channel as to the luo-connecting points themselves.

4. Acupuncturists need to be careful not to needle luo-connecting points too deeply when the invading Qi is still at a superficial level. Why? Because, at least in theory, and to a certain extent in my experience, needling one of these luo-connecting points too deeply can push the invader deeper faster – or to put it perhaps a better way, it allows the invader access to deeper levels more easily – when the right treatment might have pushed it out completely.

List of Luo-connecting points

Jonathan Brand colours

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