Specific points are those of the fourteen channels that have special therapeutic effects and fall into specific categories. Specific points make up a considerable proportion of the points of the fourteen channels and play an important role in the basic theory and clinical applications of acupuncture and moxibustion.
Five Transport Points
The five transport points are five groups of points distal to the elbow or knee joints, the jing-well, ying-spring, shu-stream, jing-river, and he-sea points. The terms and locations of the five transport points of each channel were first recorded in The Spiritual Pivot (Líng Shū, 灵枢).
The ancient doctors held that qi and blood flows in the channels as water in the natural world flows from a spring to the sea, from shallow to deep. The qi of the channels flows from the distal extremities to the elbows or knees in sequence, from jing-well point to ying-spring, shu-stream, jing-river, and he-sea point in turn. Most jing-well points are situated at the tips of the fingers or toes where the channel qi starts to bubble like water coming out of a well; hence the name jing-well. The yingspring points are distal to the metacarpo-or metatarso-phalangeal joints where channel qi starts to rush like a spring. The shu-stream points are proximal to the metacarpo-or metatarso-phalangeal joints where channel qi flows like a stream. The jing-river points are proximal to the wrist or ankle joints where channel qi pours abundantly like a river. Finally, the he-sea points are near the elbows and knees where channel qi goes into the body and gathers in the zang-fu organs as rivers converge in the sea.
Yuan-source points are a group of regular channel points located near the wrist or ankle where the original qi of the zang-fu organs and channels passes and gathers, thus they are termed yuan-source points, or collectively, the twelve yuan-source points. The term was first mentioned in TheSpiritual Pivot (Líng Shū, 灵枢). The yuan-source point of a yin channel is identical to its shu-stream point, whereas on a yang channel it is independent of the shu-stream point.
Luo-connecting points are where the fifteen divergent collateral branch out from their channels. ‘Luo’ means connecting. The term luo-connecting point was first recorded in The Spiritual Pivot (LíngShū, 灵枢). There is one luo-connecting point distal to the elbow or knee joint on each of the twelve channels and on the ren mai, the du mai, and the major collateral of the spleen, which are located on the trunk, respectively on the front, back, and sides. Collectively, these are called the ‘fifteen luo-connecting points’.
Xi-cleft points are where channel qi converges deep within the body and accumulates on the limbs. The term was first mentioned in The Systematic Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion (ZhēnJiŭ Jiă Yĭ Jīng, 针灸甲乙经). Most xi-cleft points are distal to elbow or knee joints. Each of the twelve regular channels and the four extra channels, yinqiao, yangqiao, yinwei, and yangwei mai, has one xi-cleft point; collectively there are sixteen.
Back-shu points are where the qi of each respective zang-fu organ infuses. The term was first recorded in The Spiritual Pivot (Líng Shū, 灵枢). All back-shu points are situated on the first lateral line of the foot taiyang bladder channel and are longitudinally distributed on each side of the spine approximately according to the anatomical order of the zang-fu organs. Each of the six yin and six yang organs has a back-shu point, for a total of twelve.
Front-mu points are a group of regular channel points located on the chest and abdomen where the qi of their respective zang-fu organs infuses and converges. The term was first recorded in BasicQuestions (Sù Wèn, 素问). Each of the six yin and six yang organs has a front-mu point. There are twelve front-mu points, which are situated close to their corresponding organs.
Lower He-sea Points
The lower he-sea points, also called lower he-sea points of the six fu-organs, are the six points where the qi of the six fu-organs flows down towards the three yang channels of the foot. Lower hesea points were first recorded in The Spiritual Pivot (Líng Shū, 灵枢). Of these, the lower he-sea points of the stomach, gallbladder, and urinary bladder are identical to their five transport he-sea points. The lower he-sea points of the large intestine, small intestine, and sanjiao are located on the lower limbs; those of the large and small intestines, on the stomach channel; that of the sanjiao, on the bladder channel.
Eight Influential Points
The eight influential points (bā huì xué, 八会穴) are the gathering places for the zang-organs, fu-organs, qi, blood, tendons, vessels, bone, and marrow respectively. The term was first recorded in The Classic of difficult Issues (Nàn Jīng, 难经). The eight influential points are distributed on the trunk and the four limbs. Those of the zang-organs, fu-organs, qi, blood, and bone are located on the trunk, while those of the tendons, vessels, and marrow are on the four limbs.
Confluence Points of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels
The confluence points of the eight extraordinary vessels (bā mài jiāo huì xué, 八脉交会穴) are the eight points on the four limbs where the eight extraordinary vessels communicate with the twelve regular channels. The term first appeared in Guideline to Acupuncture Classic (Zhēn Jīng Zhĭ Nán,针经指南). The confluence points are all distal to the elbow or knee.
Intersecting points (jiāo huì xué, 交会穴) are those at which two or more channels intersect. They were first recorded in The Systematic Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion (Zhēn Jiŭ Jiă YĭJīng, 针灸甲乙经). Most are distributed on the head, face, and trunk.