A Case Example of Tung’s points with Classical Acupuncture

When I teach Tung’s points a question that frequently comes up is the integration of Tung’s points with classical acupuncture points. One of the more extreme examples of this that I’ve heard on more than one occasion is that if someone combines Tung’s points with conventional points, or Tung’s point with local points, then it would somehow negate the treatment rendering it useless to the patient. Not only does this make no sense to me (Tung himself was aware of the conventional channel points, and used them in his clinic), it shows that whatever teacher said this had a profound misunderstanding of acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention.

As a beginning student of any system it is important to stick as closely as possible to the original methodology in order to fully understand how a system works. But the eventual goal is the flexible application of numerous theories at the same time. Here is a clinical case example from my own practice that I saw this week. It illustrates the combination of Tung points with time based point selection. Time based point selection is one way of looking at it is a method of treating disease first by putting a patient’s body back in resonance with the movement of Yin-Yang and the Five Phases in nature.

The patient is an early middle-aged woman with menstrual irregularities and compromised fertility. She has not had a menstrual cycle in some time now. I initially diagnosed her with an insufficiency of the Chong vessel as one of her primary patterns. Today her pulses, as is typical, were overall thin and weak. However, her left guan position was particularly weak while the right guan position was wiry and slightly strong in the superficial level and weak at the deep level. This shows an overall insufficiency of the Wood phase, and in the Earth phase the Stomach channel is slightly replete while the Spleen channel is vacuous. The patient is also very stressed out with a lack of sense of proper direction in her current situation (which confirms the vacuity of Wood phase).

The point selection was Xia Xi GB-43, Ren Huang 77.21 (i.e., San Yin Jiao SP-6), and Fu Ke 11.24. Xia Xi was chosen because the patient presented at 7:30am (actual time; 8:30am for daylight savings time, which is not real/solar time) on a Ren 壬 stem day; this is the open point in the Zi Wu Liu Zhu 子午流注 (Na Jia Fa 納甲法) point selection method. On top of that Xia Xi is the Ying and Water point on the channel, making it the supplementing point of the Leg Shaoyang Gallbladder. Supplementing Yang Wood helps drain Yang Earth (Stomach channel) since Wood and Earth are in a control cycle relationship. Lastly, Xia Xi, on the foot, images the lower abdomen.

Adding in Ren Huang (i.e., San Yin Jiao) strengthens the Kidney as well as the Spleen and Liver. Likewise, Ren Huang images the lower abdomen and can be used to regulate the menses. Once Xia Xi and Ren Huang were inserted the pulses normalized, i.e., the wiry quality in the left guan evened out and overall the pulses were more even at the middle depth in all positions. At the end Fu Ke was added as a general regulator of the Chong and the uterus. Thus, this case illustrates a typical therapeutic approach to a common case using both Tung lineage and classical acupuncture points.