A Neurological View of Acupuncture Points • Qi121

by Michael Max | With guest, Poney Chiang

Just how do you locate an acupuncture point? Are you looking for bony protrusions, a palpable change on the skin, or a rule based measurement from a book? Locating acupuncture points is something every practitioner needs to do, and do well. And there are plenty of different criteria that can be used.

This question about point location caught the attention of our guest in this episode. He started to seriously look into this issue, serious as in with a scalpel and cadaver.

And what he’s found has been illuminating. Listen into this conversation on how Poney Chiang's curiosity has allowed him to use modern science to find connections between the classics, acupuncture points and neurophysiology.



In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • The surprising way Poney got in to TCM and Neurology
  • How Poney aligned points with nerves
  • How neurology changed his practice
  • Nerve entrapment – carpal tunnel
  • Depolarization of nerves
  • Why we should consider the homunculus
  • Knowing anatomy and balancing the nervous system
  • Thoughts on the acupuncture meridians

When using LI-4, needle more proximally.  Think the valley where the metacarpal bones meet, rather than at the top of the hill, after all the Chinese name is Union Valley, not Union Hill.  The neuroanatomy here is the bifurcation of the superficial branch of the radial nerve towards the thumb and index finger.  The DeQi sensation you should strive for here should be numbness/tingling/electrical sensation spreading towards the index finger and/or the thumb.


Poney Chiang, PhD, MSTOM, R.Ac 

My research with cadavers and MRI, together with translations of Chinese medical classics informs my view of acupuncture points from a neuroanatomical perspective. This understanding guides how I palpate point and the type of DeQi sensation I expect to obtain depending on the neuroanatomy associated with any point.   I love this medicine because neuroanatomy from Western Science and energetic anatomy from Chinese medicine, are in fact two sides of the same coin.  I am grateful that this research and treatment method resonated with many of my colleagues and it has given me an opportunity to author a textbook and to travel the world as a continuing education teacher.  Aside from the sense of fulfilment when I am able to help people with health problems, what motivates me as a practitioner is that my research and teaching is helping to elevate our profession within the healthcare landscape.  I am honoured to play a role in the advancement of Chinese medicine.


Links and Resources

Poney has a couple of upcoming classes: Neuro-Meridian Acupuncture Intensive (Upper Extremity & Neck) Dao Collective, Rye, NY March 13-16, 2020

Neuro-Meridian Acupuncture Intensive (Axial Region + Cadaver Lab) Academy of Chinese Culture & Health Sciences, Oakland, CA March 26-29 2020

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