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Acupressure/Acupressure, meridians


QUESTION: Dr. Cross,

As you are a preeminent expert in reflexology / acupressure, I would appreciate your comment.

In "Energy Medicine" and “Touch for Health” there is a chart called Muscle Meridian chart, where body muscles are shown with corresponding meridians.

For the purposes of this inquiry, I will use a specific example.
a)   In the Muscle Meridian chart for the Gluteus muscles, Adductor, etc, it’s recommended to deal with the Circulation Meridian for sciatica (for SEDATING).

b)   At the same time, two other meridians, Gallbladder and Bladder, are actually running through / near those muscles and are recommended to be dealt with in ACUPRESSURE, for the same sciatica.
What is the rational used that makes both of them applicable?
And what is the approach when the painful muscles (like the above) are not even the real sources of pain? Like in cases of the Referred pain.
What do we do in this case in regards to a) and b)?

Thanks for your time.

ANSWER: Great question! There are scores of anomalies in acupuncture, acupressure and reflexology. That's what makes it so frustrating sometimes. Firstly 'Touch For Health' which is a 'lay persons' derivative of Applied Kinesiology, that was pioneered by some quite brilliant minds (mostly chiropractors in the USA in the 1960's) is based on many individual and disparate philosophies including using a version of acupressure that uses the so called Sedating and Tonifying points. In some ways, Touch for Health (I'm not a fan), represents a mish mash of ideas that supposedly produce a 'whole'. The acupressure part of it is based upon the Law of Five Transformations or Elements where 'energy' balancing can take place by placing the fingers on the relevant point of the associated organ/meridian. One can do this in more 'orthodox' acupressure but not in the same way. So, to take your example of sciatic pain (that according to TFH may be linked to the Gluteus Maximus), the acupoints of SP 3 and PC 7 are held for a few seconds followed by KI 10 and PC 3. Please note that Circulation/Sex is not a name that is used for the Pericardium meridian outside TFH ! All acupuncture meridian names and point locations were standardized by the World Health Authority in 1998 - I guess the TFH people chose to ignore it.

Using 'standard' acupressure, based upon traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the points that may be used for sciatic pain lie on the Gall Bladder or Bladder meridians (as you stated) eg BL 62, GB 40. You mentioned referred pain - the object of ALL good treatment is to treat the CAUSE of the pain and not to just palliate symptoms - which TCM does. Hope this helps - let me know if it needs more explaining - John

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you, Dr. Cross.

If you could please expand a little the direction in the last part, dealing with the referred pain.
Should it mean that the TFH approach does NOT consider the referred pain concept, but 'standard' acupressure, based on TCM does?

Thanks again for your time.

Referred pain occurs by many different mechanisms. It could be a simple spinal nerve root referral down a limb, it could be inflammation of the dermatome (again spinal), it could be caused by one of many types of reflected discomfort as in parallel areas, hand or foot reflex pain from spinal levels or internal organic discomfort etc. etc. So you see it's not simple. That is why I personally use the minor chakra pain regions with touch or magnets. It then addresses the cause of the pain regardless of whether or not it is local or referred. Second option would be acupressure/reflex therapy performed from the pain site to the tender reflected area. I wouldn't consider TFH, its not that I am bias against it, it's just that I don't know much about it - yer can't know it all!! Best wishes - John


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John R. Cross


Acupressure, reflexology, acupuncture and bodywork questions from practitioners and clients


Physical therapist and acupuncturist for over 30 years. Acupressure workshop provider an lecturer, author of 5 books on the subject.

'Acupressure in the Treatment of Musculo-Skeletal Conditions'; 'Acupressure and Reflextherapy in Medical Conditions'; 'Healing with the Chakra Energy System'; 'Acupuncture and the Chakra Energy System'; 'Reflected Energy Pathways'

Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy; Doctor of Acupuncture

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