Location Methods and Cun Measurements

| January 22, 2010 | 0 Comments | 3,377 views

One of the basic prerequisites for any successful acupuncture treatment,besides a differential Chinese Medicine diagnosis and the relevant point selection,is the correct point location.

Location Methods for Body Acupuncture

There are various methods for locating acupuncture points: Anatomical approach:many acupuncture points are situated at clearly defined anatomical locations,for example in depressions, at muscle and tendon insertions,in grooves,at joint clefts,at bony prominences,etc.With some experience,the palpating finger will often automatically‘fall’into the right depressions and holes. Various anatomical structures and zones form the basis for point location.These are described in more detail in Chapter 3.We can distinguish between the following:

Fixed markers are not affected by the body position or by movement.These include bony landmarks such as depressions or prominences of the skeletal system,but also the finger-and toenails,the nipples,the umbilicus,etc.Most of the propor- tional cun measurements(?2.2)rely on fixed markers.

Movable markers often become more clearly defined with a particular body posture or movement(?2.3.2).For example,by flexing the elbow,the cubital crease becomes much more clearly visible to locate L.I.-11 precisely.Equally,the most distal palmar crease becomes much more visible when
making a loose fist,in order to locate S.I.-3.Other parameters that might determine the location of a point include changed skin consistency,sensitivity to pressure,puffiness or a resistant sensation when palpating gently with a finger.Proportional measurements:When trying to locate points not situated at any prominent structures,Chinese Medicine applies the proportional cun measurement(?2.2).

Electric tools:These measure the electric resistance of the skin in order to find the correct location of the points.Generally,electric resistance is lower in the immediate area around the point. This method is especially used in auricular acupuncture,but it has not proved to be a practical method for body acupuncture. Very point technique(after Gleditsch 2005):The needle is held loosely and guided in a‘dancing’fashion over the skin. When the correct point–the‘very point’–is found,the needle will‘catch’on to it and penetrate the skin as if out of its own volition.

 Cun Measurements of the Body

In Chinese medicine,distances on the body are traditionally measured in cun.In contrast to the official Chinese cun (1 cun 2.5 cm),the cun used in a medical context is a proportional unit of measurement that takes the individual proportions of each body into account. This relative unit of measurement is defined either by using the width of a particular finger or fingers(finger cun)or by the dis-
tances between clearly defined landmarks of the body(body cun).
In clinical practice,many points can be located by using finger cun measurements(?Fig.2.1).It is important,however,to use the patient’s fingers,not the practitioner’s fingers,for reference.If the fingers of both the practitioner and the patient have approximately the same width,the width of the practitioner’s fingers can be applied for point location.Otherwise,measurements have to be adapted to correct minor deviations,for example by adjusting the spaces(narrow or wide)between the practitioner’s fingers when using finger cun measurements.

The body or proportional cun is based on the proportions of particular sections of the body,which are divided into a specific number of units(?Fig.2.3).In clinical practice,the measurement of these divisions can be quite cumbersome.Therefore,the spreading hands technique is commonly applied(Koenig and Wancura 1979/1983).It allows the practitioner to quickly determine the midpoint of a given distance(?2.3.3)and,combined with finger cun measurements and palpation,is in most cases sufficient for correctly locating a point.For point location on the abdomen,a prepared elastic tape can be useful for measuring proportional cun(?2.3.1).

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