It is impossible to cover all the topics of acupuncture points due to the sheer amount of knowledge. There are 365 acupuncture points on the body, and each point has its own complicated functions. Today, I would like to talk about the “Zu San Li” point, which is one of the most commonly known points.
The “Zu San Li” point is located three “cun” (about four fingers width) below the “Dou Bi” points on the outside of the knee of each leg. Years ago, when I was teaching in a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) college in Vancouver, I found many students had difficulty locating acupuncture points correctly. How do you find this point correctly? It is very easy: to find “Zu San Li” on your right leg, simply wrap your thumb and index of you right hand around the patella bone, and keeping your index aligned with the shinbone. Now your middle finger would be right on the “Zu San Li” point. This point is what I use the most often because it has a very wide range of application.
The “Zu San Li” point can:
1. Treat stomach problems
All stomach problems can be treated with this point, because “Zu San Li” is on the “Zu Yang Ming Stomach channel”, and all the “Qi”of the channel is concentrated at the point---the “Li” in “Zu San Li” actually means concentrating. “Qi” on the other hand has many meanings. One is that the ability of body recovery is originated by the “Qi”. Therefore, the “Zu San Li” point is the most important point to heal stomach problems.
2. Treat digestive system problems
Conditions of the digestive system such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distention, abdominal pain, or gurgling intestine can all be treated by this point. Therefore there is a traditional saying: “all the stomach and belly problems stay at the Zu San Li point”.
3. Strengthen the overall health
All illness and conditions caused by weakness of the body can be treated with this point using needles or moxibustions. Sun, Si Miao, a famous doctor of the Tang dynasty (618-907) wrote in his book, “if you want to be free from illness, you better keep the Zu San Li point warm and dry”---this actually means using moxibustion on the point often. In fact, what he means is to keep the “Zu San Li “ point slightly burnt. This is a good way to keep health.
4. Treat problems caused by an the immune system:
These problems can mostly be treated from the “Zu San Li” point, whether it is caused by an weak immune system---such as frequently catching cold or influenza, lacking in strength, or caused by an over-active immune system ---such as all kinds of allergy related illness, rheumatism such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and systematic lupus erythema, etc..
Because of all these effects, I use “Zu San Li” often in clinical practice. The effect of this point can be found in many classical or modern writings of acupuncture too. In fact, the “Zu San Li” can also be used to treat many more conditions: mental problems such as melancholia, high blood pressure, diabetes, knee pain, back pain, asthma, dripping urination, kidney problem, or recovery after radiotherapy or chemotherapy. These conditions are not necessarily recorded in the classical TCM writings, but all were proved during our actual practice.
Now, have you understood the meaning of the “Zu San Li” point in treating illness? You can massage the point, or use moxibustion by yourself at home. Next week, I will introduce the moxibustion treatment of ” Zu San Li”.
除这些功效以外，根据我的临床经验，足三里还可以用于：忧郁症及精神系统疾病,，高血压， 糖尿病, 膝关节痛，腰痛，哮喘，小便淋漓不尽，肾病，放化疗后的治疗等等，真是数不胜数。这么多的功效是我临床上常用足三里治疗的主要原因，许多古书上也都散在记载。