Most people know that acupuncture works by inserting fine needles at specific points on the skin, but few people understand what acupuncture points are or how to find them. In fact, there are far more acupuncture points than you might think, and some are relatively easy to locate.
Read on to learn how many acupuncture points there are in the human body and how you can find them for yourself.
What are Acupuncture Points?
Acupuncture points can be seen as ‘energetic hotspots’ which can have distinct physical or psychological effects when stimulated. These points are connected by invisible lines known as acupuncture channels or meridians.
One of the easiest ways to understand is by picturing these meridians as long rivers, connecting the body from head to toe. When a river hits a rock, a little surge of energy is created. To imagine this, picture the fast-flowing, white water of a waterfall or rapids, swirling and bubbling as it works its way around the obstruction. In a similar way, when the flow of a meridian is broken by a muscle, bone, or, joint, its energy becomes more concentrated in that specific area.
This little energetic vortex is an acupuncture point, and its power is the reason why acupuncture points have such a dramatic effect on the body and mind.
If this all seems a little far-fetched, modern science has already made some headway in proving that acupuncture points are physiologically different from their surrounding tissues. CT and MRI scans have shown that certain acupuncture points have a higher concentration of tiny blood vessels around them and may also have a higher partial oxygen pressure.
So, how many acupuncture points are there in the human body and how do you find them? Let’s take a look.
How Many Acupuncture Points are there in the Human Body?
There is some debate surrounding exactly how many acupuncture points exist in the human body. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are 361 standard acupuncture points, although some of these are disputed. However, some sources claim that there are as many as 2000 different acupuncture points in the body.
This is because in addition the main meridians, there are also several different ‘microsystems’ in acupuncture, for example, ear acupuncture, scalp acupuncture, and Korean hand acupuncture. Each of these microsystems has its own points, bringing the number up significantly.
In addition to this, there are ‘trigger points,’ points which can become particularly tender in some musculoskeletal disorders or following an injury. In Chinese, these are called ashipoints, with ashi translating as ‘oh yes’ which is what you might shout when you press one!
How to Find an Acupuncture Point
The Chinese word for acupuncture point is xue, which means a hollow or a hole. This is an apt description as acupuncture points can normally be felt as a hollow dip on the body’s surface. As we mentioned earlier, acupuncture points are normally found at the junction of two bones or between a bone and a muscle.
One of the easiest acupuncture points to find on yourself, and one of the most useful, is Large Intestine 4, also known as Joining Valleys. It is located in the webbing of the hand, between the bones of the thumb and forefinger. You will know if you have found the point because it will feel slightly achy when you press it.
This point is thought to be beneficial for headaches, toothache, facial pain, stress, and constipation. It should be avoided during pregnancy.
You should never attempt to needle a point unless you have the correct training as you could do yourself some damage if you go too deep. However, it is generally safe to stimulate acupuncture points with a finger or thumb, and acupressure is a great therapy to try on yourself when you need fast relief from your symptoms.
So, now we have answered ‘how many acupuncture points are there in the human body?’ you may be keen to give them a try. Give us a call or check out our related articles to find out which points are best for you.