Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Blog

Abdominal Acupuncture

Abdominal Acupuncture

Abdominal Acupuncture, created by Dr. Zhiyun Bo, is an easy modality to learn and apply. It is not only gentle and relaxing, it is also very effective because it works with the qi in the core of the body. In addition, it directly affects the digestive system.

The following overview to Abdominal Acupuncture is compiled from the online courses by Dave Shipsey (in English), and online resources by Dr. Zhiyun Bo (in Chinese).


Abdominal Acupuncture utilizes a hologram of the abdomen of a tortoise on its back. Abdominal points prescriptions follow the same concept of herbal prescriptions in which there are Jun, Chen, Zuo, Shi (Chief, Deputy, Assistant, Envoy) points, with each playing an important and essential function.

  • Chief points treat the patient’s chief complaints, and regulate and harmonize the organs. Usually 1-2 points are selected.
  • Deputy points enhance the organ regulating effects of the Chief points.
  • Assistant points enhance Chief and Deputy functions, as well as regulate affected channels.
  • Envoy points provide symptomatic relief. They often image the corresponding pain areas, and can also be guiding points.

There is no set number of points to use for each category above, however, there are usually more Envoy points than Chief points. Depending on the condition, some point prescriptions may only contain points from one or two of the categories.

7 Golden Rules of Orthopedic Electro-acupuncture - Rick Bernard

7 Golden Rules of Orthopedic Electro-acupuncture - Rick Bernard

Electro-acupuncture is one of those treatment protocols that was barely covered in TCM school. There's not many textbooks on the subject either so it's not surprising that few acupuncturists know how to properly use an electro-stimulation device.

In comes Rick Bernard, former Golden State Warriors basketball player turned leading electro-acupuncture expert in the field of acupuncture orthopedics, who has dedicated over 10 years of his TCM career to finding the secret to the powerful effects of electro-acupuncture.

With over 25 years of clinical experience and 65,000 + patient visits for Kaiser Permanente's chronic pain and Occupational Medicine clinics, as well as a thriving private practice, Rick Bernard offers real world, cutting edge insights on treating painful conditions using electro-acupuncture. Although Rick spent 10 years researching what he knows today, he shared his findings and clinical pearls with us in one short day!

Here are some highlights below:

  • Use needles with a metal handle. Clip the leads to the handle, NOT shaft. (Rick uses 36 gauge for body points).
  • When inserting the needle, be sure to insert all the way in with just a bit of the shaft exposed. Once again, attach clips to handles ONLY.
  • For pain conditions, be sure to needle INTO the trigger point. Cross and bi-directional needling is also recommended when using e-stim because it has a better outcome since more area is covere d during treatment.
  • It doesn't matter where you put the leads but Rick prefers BLACK (negative) distal and RED (positive) proximal.
  • When using e-stim on the hands and arms, do NOT e-stim bilaterally! It's okay on the legs, but not the arms/hands because of the heart.

How to Ethically Start, Protect, and Manage the Assets of Your Practice from a Legal Perspective - Eric Chen

How to Ethically Start, Protect, and Manage the Assets of Your Practice from a Legal Perspective - Eric Chen

At some point in time during your acupuncture practice, most licensed acupuncturists will encounter some kind of lawsuit so it is important to know what to do, if and when it happens. To bring you the BEST insider tips on how to protect yourself and your business from starting a practice to keeping it safe, Eric has invited his powerful team of attorneys, Ying Xu, Samantha Larsen, and Kaleigh Ragon, to share imperative insight on the most important aspects of being an acupuncturist as well as a business owner.

Please note, the class focus is on California law as all attorneys presenting are licensed to practice in California.

Other topics covered in this course include:

  • Opening a new practice
  • Maintaining a practice
  • Legal considerations in hiring staff and associates
  • How to handle a personal injury matter as an acupuncturist
  • How to avoid medical malpractice and legal trouble
  • Estate planning essentials

Eric Chen received his Juris Doctor from Southwestern University School of Law in 1994 and is licensed to practice law in California since 1994 and in Nevada since 1996. He currently has law offices in both California and Nevada, specializing in personal injury, healthcare, medical malpractice, and business litigation.

The class was filled with clinical pearls so I'd recommend attend the full course but below are a few of my favorites:

  • During a personal injury patient’s first examination, you should get detailed information about abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, prior alcohol or drug use.

eLotus CORE [Collection of Real Essentials]

​GUESS WHAT everyone!

There's a new website in town and its primary focus is helping to make TCM more efficient and effective for today's acupuncturist by letting you easily collect and find resources that matter all in one place. Whether it's information on TCM theory, acupuncture points, Master Tung’s acupuncture, or herbs, this NEW addition to our website is 100% dedicated to our eLotus family (that's you!).

After over 2 years of translating, editing, and designing this website, we are pleased to introduce to you...

eLotus CORE [Collection Of Real Essentials]

The first eLotus CORE section that we released on August 29, 2017 was Master Tung’s Acupuncture (beta version) - you can look up point locations, indications, proper needling techniques, bloodletting therapy, exclusive points that are not found in other English resources, and much more!

eLotus CORE is not just an eLotus website, it is every acupuncturist’s website. As CORE is an ongoing project, to make it better and more useful for you, we welcome your suggestions and feedback at

Enjoy and share the launch of eLotus CORE with your colleagues!

eLotus aspires to be your continuing source of unique, essential, and practical TCM information direct from the source. Thank you for being part of the TCM community and helping to spread the pearls of TCM wisdom.

Cupping, Gua Sha, and Moxa - Dr. Alex Chen

Cupping, Gua Sha, and Moxa - Dr. Alex Chen

Cupping, gua sha, and moxibustion are key therapeutic applications that can either be used as an adjunct to acupuncture or a treatment protocol on its own. Cupping is a suction technique that draws superficial tissue into a cup which helps improve circulation. Gua sha is a healing protocol that involves gently spooning or scraping to create transitory therapeutic petechiae called sha which represents extravasation of blood in a problem or pain area. Moxibustion (known as moxa) involves the heating of acupuncture points with a smoldering mugwort herb and is used to stimulate, circulate, and counteract cold and dampness in the body to promote the smooth flow of qi and blood.

Dr. Alex Chen is a master of herbs, qi gong and tui-na. He has taught at South Baylo University, Yuin University and Royal University of America as well as teaching numerous professional and continuing education seminars in the U.S. and abroad. His love for Oriental Medicine is evident through his life-long devotion to the profession, and reflected by the passion and dedication he embodies, and the inspiration he provides to his children to pursue the same career path.

The whole weekend was filled with clinical pearls so I'd recommend attend the full course but below are a few of my favorites:


  • Use 20 strokes, 8-15 cm long, on each area of the skin.
  • Go in ONE direction. Do NOT go back and forth.
  • If after 20 strokes there is no “sha,” go on to the next location.

Abdominal Acupuncture - Dave Shipsey

Abdominal Acupuncture - Dave Shipsey

Abdominal acupuncture is an incredibly powerful, yet very gentle system that utilizes the abdomen to regulate the function of the zangfu organs and meridians to treat the whole body for pain and internal disorders. In May 2017, Dave Shipsey simplified the system to teach us how use only the abdomen to treat all kinds of conditions. Meet Dave.

Dave Shipsey is a seasoned acupuncturist with over 15 years of experience and training in the most powerful acupuncture systems around. Dave's Dublin clinic, Dan-Tien Complementary Health Studio, was established in 2001. Prior to practicing as an acupuncturist, he studied acupuncture for a year in Ireland, completed his studies in China at the International University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Nanjing and interned with many of the affiliated hospitals with highly revered doctors including, Dr. Qiao Weilei. Over the years in Nanjing, Dave completed 6 months of internship with Dr. Han Yan studying abdominal acupuncture (Fu Zhen).


BodyMapping Acupuncture - Cole Magbanua

BodyMapping Acupuncture by Cole Magbanua

It’s always refreshing to meet a practitioner who shares our same vision in dedicating ourselves to the preservation and continuation of TCM wisdom. We’re all in this together to make the world a better place and what better way to do so than to share what really works? The best kind of knowledge is shared, passed on, and translated into the healing of patients, thus furthering our TCM profession. This past weekend in May, we met a man who can help change the way you practice, making your job easier and more efficient so that you can best help your patient! Meet Cole.

Cole Magbanua is a seasoned acupuncturist with over 25 years of clinical experience who uses a distal acupuncture technique to treat his patients to see instant results. After years of study and practice, he refined his knowledge into a system that he coined “Bodymapping Acupuncture Technique”. The Bodymapping Acupuncture Technique’s beginnings stem from a class with Dr. Richard Tan back in 1995 on mirroring, imaging, and Dr. Tan’s Systems. After trying out what he learned from class, Cole concluded that Systems 1, 4, and 6 worked the best depending on what body part(s) you are treating. He then created a body chart in which he mapped out and color coded the acupuncture channels. It turns out acupuncture channels are not dots or lines but actually zones!

First remember…
When treating anything on the limb, use System 1 (Same Name); needle opposite side
When treating anything on the torso, use System 4 (Opposite Clock); needle opposite side
Use System 6 (Same Channel) to make treatment all the more effective; needle same side

Cupping the Back-Shu, Urinary Bladder Channel for PTSD Patients

Melissa M Monroe is a seasoned acupuncturist specializing in supporting patients in grief and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) related symptoms. In her practice, she regularly uses the inner and outer back-shu points for PTSD patients, primarily focusing on the 5 main inner shus: Lung, Heart, Liver, Spleen, and Kidney.

Why the back-shu points? Because many channels have pathology in PTSD and by using the UB channel, all main organs are targeted. The UB channel has points that relate to all main organs.

Plus, as Dr. Monroe points out, “UB points can treat each organs’ repressed, extreme emotions. Particularly fear, as fear is at root of all suppressed emotions, and clearly there is fear of feeling emotions. After a UB release, most patients report feeling particularly tired which is often accompanied by large emotional release. Acceptance of others come with acceptance of Self.”

Here are some great clinical notes from Dr. Monroe’s class on the inner and outer shu points:

  • BL-42- “Window of the Corporeal Soul” with BL-13. (Grief/Worry) Frees breathing Calms Mind. Settles the Corporeal Soul. “Comfortable in one’s skin.” Inward movement.
  • BL-44-”Hall of the Mind” with BL-15. Mental Clarity. Calms Mind. Long retention can clear Heart Fire.
  • BL-47-”Door of the Ethereal Soul” with BL-18. Ability to plan/complete projects. I associate it with “executive functioning.” Outward movement. Combine with BL-52 and BL-23 if the person is very open/vulnerable.
  • BL-49- “Hut of the Intellect” with BL-20. Clears Mind. Strengthen Intellect. Relieves obsessive thoughts/brooding/ruminating.
  • BL-52-”Room of the Will Power” with BL-23. Strengthen will power/drive/initiative.

Boost Your Lifestyle to Combat Chronic Pain: 3 Tips for Immediate Relief by Jackie Waters

Boost Your Lifestyle to Combat Chronic Pain: 3 Tips for Immediate Relief by Jackie Waters

People who live with chronic pain know that every aspect of daily living is made more difficult. Simply getting up and out of bed in the morning is a feat for those who are in pain all the time. Yet, there are steps chronic pain sufferers can take at home to minimize their pain; we share tips for boosting your lifestyle to combat your chronic pain here, in the hopes that each day becomes more manageable for you.

1. Change Your Surroundings

Chronic pain may be caused by stress and emotional issues in addition to physical injury. People with chronic stress often have chronic pain because their muscles are tense and constricted, which leads to fatigued and inefficient muscles over time. Since many people with chronic pain spend a great deal of time at home, making changes to your surroundings at home is an effective way to reduce your stress and minimize your pain.

One of the first things you should do to lower stress levels and minimize pain is declutter your home. Studies show that clutter reduces your ability to focus and process information well. By concentrating on getting rid of the clutter, you will feel better by donating items you no longer need and knowing that you have more open spaces to enjoy at home. You won’t feel boxed in or trapped by your belongings, and you will enjoy having more natural light entering your home.

Fast Pain Relief with Tung's Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs with Henry McCann

Fast Pain Relief with Tung's Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs with Henry McCann

If you're new the Tung acupuncture and unsure where to start, I'd highly recommend that you start with Henry's Fast Pain Relief videos - Part 1 and 2. Why? Because he starts the class off slow by clearly explaining the theories and the "why" so that you're not just memorizing points but the groundwork of what makes Tung acupuncture so great. And let me tell you, the point prescription AND herbal prescriptions that Henry shares in these classes are GOLD! The handouts are so clearly written that he pretty much tells you exactly what to do when a patient comes to you with Pain XYZ. Do your patients a favor and watch these videos. They're incredible and will really change your practice.

And because I can't keep a good thing to myself, here are some clinical treasures from the class:

• ​Acupuncture points are hard to locate on healthy individuals. When qi stagnates or pathological qi invades from the outside, the point becomes depressed or protrudes.
• Bleeding the apex has a "calm the shen" affect
• Ren-4 & Sp-9 govern disorders of the Kidney
• These points treat pain for all over the head or can be used as the "shotgun" version of treating headaches: Shui Qu 66.09, Men Jin 66.05, Huo Zhu 66.04, and Ling Gu 22.05 (aka Gb-41, St-43, Lr-3, & Li-4)
• Si-3 needling tip: Needle RIGHT UNDER the bone because it has a strong correlation to kidney. If the condition is kidney-related, needle close to the bone.
• Ht-8: needle or massage for needle shock
• 5 general points for pain if you don't know where to start: Ling Gu, Shen Guan, 88.25, 26, 27 (must use for pain!), and lower 3 emperors
• Ma Jin Shui 1010.13 & Ma Kuai Shui 1010.14 - great for relieving pain from Kidney stones. Needle opposite side but can do bilateral.
• Master Tung believed knee problems all have to do with Heart Zang

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