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  1. #1

    Unilateral needling

    Hi - I thought I'd go ahead and get the acupuncture forum started!

    Regarding needling techniques, in my training I was generally encouraged to needle bilaterally in most situations (apart from injury/trauma), yet I now read and hear about practitioners choosing to needle certain point combinations unilaterally, such as P6 on the left and Sp4 on the right (for the Chong Mai).

    What is the reason behind this, do any of you practice this way? Do you find it has a greater effect than bilateral needling?

    Rob

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    Hi - I thought I'd go ahead and get the acupuncture forum started!

    Regarding needling techniques, in my training I was generally encouraged to needle bilaterally in most situations (apart from injury/trauma), yet I now read and hear about practitioners choosing to needle certain point combinations unilaterally, such as P6 on the left and Sp4 on the right (for the Chong Mai).

    What is the reason behind this, do any of you practice this way? Do you find it has a greater effect than bilateral needling?

    Rob
    In TCM, left side of body is blood, Right side of body is Qi, some practitioner use left Pc6 + right Sp4 for balance or harmony blood and Qi, Pc6(L)+Sp4(R) is for the treatment of belching or heart burn, left Pc6 for calm down chest blood condition, right Sp4 for sooth and peace the Qi rushing of Chong Mai. Sometimes too many needles on acupuncture treatment will cause sedate body energy and not good for body deficiency or weak patient, use less needles will more safety for the patient to avoid the needle shock.

    Regards

    Feng

  3. #3
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    When I was in school, two of my instructors encouraged using points with multiple functions that applied to the patient's condition. for example, when using the 4 gates (LI 4 + LV 3) to move qi, you can use a slight modification (LI 4 + LV 2) that will still move qi, but will also clear liver heat, which may be more effective if the patient's discomfort involves liver yang rising, for example. I also like to use Dr. Richard Tan's meridian based balance method for pain control, as well as Master Tung's points in the same way. Both of those methods use unilateral needling which can be very powerful in relieving pain. Bilateral needling seems (to me, at least) to be better for tonification, and maintaining the balance.
    Jim
    DOM, LAc. New Mexico

    "What the thinker thinks, the Prover proves." Robert Anton Wilson

    Anything, taken to extremes, becomes its opposite.

  4. #4
    About 4 gates, I think it is Lv3 & Li4, Lv3(Tai Chong) which is Jueyin liver yuan point also is blood point, and it is relate to chong mai, means rush the bottom part body blood go up to upper body. Li4 is Qi point, it is Yangming Large intestine yuan point, which can move the Qi help to push the bowel movement go down out of body. The Qi and blood go up and down with Yin blood point plus yang qi point is for whole body's yin and yang with Qi and Blood circulation and harmony. But Lv2(Xing Jian) which is Jueyin liver ying point for sedate liver fire, which means move the liver fire Qi go down out of feet, if use Lv2+ Li4 will totally sedate the person's Qi down, only for liver yang fire up person to use, and different function use as Lv3+Li4, So, Lv2+ Li4 can not harmony body Qi and blood circulation, only for sedate patient's fire energy.
    Regards
    Feng Mei, L.Ac.
    http://latcmwellnesscenter.com
    Last edited by feng; 19-10-2012 at 18:39.

  5. #5
    Personally, I usually needle bilaterally unless I intentionally want to draw qi towards or away from a particular side. I also enjoy using the Eight Extraordinary Vessels and Master Tung points.

  6. #6
    Hi,

    When i was in China earlier this year i observed a doctor who would only needle the yang channels on one side and the yin channels on the other. This was a really unique approach to observe. Now there is a possibility that this was to reduce the cost of the treatment to the patient but i like to think there was some sort of strong theory around it. When i asked i was given the nice vague "its from the Neijing answer". Anyone seen or used this approach?

    Regards,

    Michael Warren

    http://www.coburgchinesemedicine.com.au

  7. #7
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    unilateral or bilateral needling

    I have heard of Japanese ideas that suggest differences in needling between men and women (patients). And particularly as applied to the Master (Opening) and Coupled (Closing) points of the Curious Vessels. Some of these would have us swap left and right pulses between men and women. In Five Element practice we needle bilateraly most of the time - except in the instance of an akabane imbalance. But it was taught as an option to needle just the operative side - left side for tonification, and right side for sedation (dispersion) - that is the first side to be needled in the case of bilateral needling. I think when one finds an idiosyncratic teaching that seems to contradict the consensus then most of the time one can assume that it is not crucial. We have a range of needling practices in acupuncture from a basic Tonification/Sedation (dispersion) technique to more elaborate manipulations in the Classics and in modern practice. One end of the spectum may be too simplistic for every situation, the other may be unnessacarily complicated.

  8. #8
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    I am in a study group and we have just completed a reading of the Su Wen. I do not recolect seeing anything exactly like the above idea. But I did notice at times what appeared to be the inspiration of many ideas, but were often taken out of context. Based upon Unschuld's comments - When the Su Wen was first written acupuncture was moving from the purely empirical such as bloodletting and draining abscesses to 'misleading piercing'. Needling that appeared to be in error because it was not directed at the immediate problem area. This is expressed as 'for right treat left, for left treat right' and sometimes 'for above treat below, for below treat above'. This was simply trying to say that needling MAY not be in the obvious place - but obviously has been taken as an actual rule to apply. A case of over-literalistic thinking.

    The Su Wen talks about one sided symptoms and a mechanism that produces them via the Luo channel, which I found very interesting in relation to the Akabane test and treatment that is found in Japanese acupuncture. What this all seems to suggest is that sometimes the side of a symptom may need addressing, and sometimes the opposite side. Sometimes one side, sometimes both sides, but all this is based upon a thorough understanding not arbitrary rules.

  9. #9
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    If I may be allowed to put my two penny worth in; At my first school of acupuncture my teacher was of teh opinion that less was more. By that he meant (and I meant) that we should start with a basis of four needles and work out from there. Adding more needles to a prescription was fine but where possible use confluent points to add to the effect with out adding more needles e.g. sanyinjiao (having the Sp/K & Liv meridians run through it. This would tonify the three leg yin meridians in one hit.

    In university I was told to double up all points however I still prefered the former teaching as it was beneficial to a patient and less uncomfortable. I personally do not see teh reason to needle bilaterally unless there is a good reason shown in the condition of the patient.

    just my thoughts they don't count for much but it is how I feel about this subject.

    regards

    Snowtiger

  10. #10
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    Snowtiger;
    The 'Less is more' principle is very strong in the Japanese acupuncture, and especially strong in Five Element (gentle technique, minimal number of points, more superficial). Because of this this the greater potential problem in FE is under-treating where I would suggest that most of the mainstream is over-treating. Thus, I tend to prefer bilateral because my treatment is already rather minimalist.

    My Classics study group has decided that we really need to re-read the Dao De Jing. It is very clear that the Ne Jing is advocating the Daoist principle of Wu-Wei (non coercive action) and Wu-Shi (not striving) etc. And especially in the original meaning of Nei (direct) and Cong (indirect) treatment. Indirect is preferable. Most of modern treatment would be more direct-opposing.

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