Acupuncture Point Combinations

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J. Ross

Churchill Livingstone, 1995

476 pages


With the present surge of Western interest comes the need for texts that will focus on particular aspects of both the theory and practice of Chinese medicine. The subject of this book, acupuncture point combinations, covers one such aspect and it must be acknowledged that such an undertaking represents great dedication and commitment.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part outlines the theoretical principles of point combinations. Ross begins by discussing and illustrating standard Chinese theories such as yin/yang and interior/exterior. He also presents his own ideas within the framework of the individual's pursuit of his own well-being. Amongst others these include the adaptation of the ten personality types, which separate the five elements at the level of the mind and emotions into yin and yang respectively. For example: a fire yin type will present themselves as someone who is serious, sad, lacking interest in relationships and lonely. By contrast a fire yang type will be over-excitable, restless, socially overactive and tending towards burnout. He emphasises the potential for the practitioner to work with these 'types'. This could be of great value in making an individual diagnosis.

Guidelines on point combinations are also given. These include groups of points such as Source points, Back Shu points and He Sea points, as well as points grouped according to left and right, above and below and the energy centre theory which uses points according to their horizontal level in the body. (These relate to the level of the organs involved and are identified by the author as being connected to the chakra system, and can often be found on the Ren, Du and Bladder channels. For example when a spleen imbalance manifests as an inability to nourish the self either physically, mentally or emotionally, points relating to that energy centre are used e.g. Zhongwan REN-12, Pishu BL-20, Yishe BL-49).

The second part is the core of the book and provides a wealth of information on each of the main acupuncture points given in the respective channels. We are given the following information on each point. I will use Liver 2 to illustrate.

General: The main functions e.g. clear Liver fire, clear damp heat and tonify Liver fire. Each of the functions are described in some depth with regard to the action of the points.

Syndromes: Each of the syndromes is listed for which you would expect to use Liver 2 and under each syndrome we are provided with the pulse picture, indications, examples and other points that it will combine with. So using Liver 2 to treat the combined syndrome Liver and Heart fire you would see:

Pulse: wiry, rapid, full or flooding.

Indications: hypertension, insomnia, nervous anxiety with palpitations.

Examples: easily frustrated, tense and angry when plans and enthusiasm seem blocked.

Combinations: Xinshu BL-15, Ganshu BL-18, Shentang BL44, Hunmen BL-47, Shaofu HE-8, Yongquan KID-1 (even method).

For each of the channels a useful table of point comparisons is given which summarises the difference between points. There are also tables to illustrate which points on individual channels combine well with each other and which points on various channels combine well to treat specific syndromes and conditions. Such clearly laid out information makes this a very reader-friendly text, facilitating quick reference.

The final part of the book gives point combinations for nine of the main diseases treated by acupuncture, e.g. eye, ear, facial and psychological disorders. The diseases themselves are not discussed but under each we are given the aetiology, the syndromes and the treatment using point combinations. Although not extensive it certainly provides a reference for the clinic.

To summarise: a great body of information is held in this book not only on the use of the points and their combinations but also on the author's own ideas which have obviously been born out of his long experience as a practitioner and teacher. Although he makes it clear that much of the information is 'his own', when using the book one is sometimes left unsure what the exact origin of the information is, whether it is traditional in its source or more contemporary. With regard to the fact that this is a text book I feel that this omission is unfortunate, particularly for the student or novice practitioner. However this remains an informative and useful text as an easily accessible guide to point combinations.

Reviewed by Greg Lampert, College of Integrated Chinese Medicine

More Information

J. Ross

Churchill Livingstone, 1995

476 pages


Author J. Ross
Publication Date 1 Jan 1970
Number of Pages 476
Book Format hardback
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