Master Tung's Points for Shoulder pain
There are many Master Tung points that can be used for shoulder pain. Commonly used points include: Lower Three Emperors (77.17, 77.19, 77.21) as well as 77.18 (Shen Guan, Kidney Gate). These points are on the spleen meridian and are often very effective.
Tung points on the hand for shoulder pain include: 22.12 (Fan Hou Jue), 22.13 (Xiao Jie), 22.05 (Ling Gu), 22.06 (Shang Bai), 22.15, 22.16, 22.17 (San Cha Yi, Er, San).
With so many points to choose from how do you pick the points that will work best for each patients unique needs?
What if you choose 22.12 or 22.13 and they don't work? What if ST 38 and Ling Gu / LI 4 don't work like they did for the last patient?
What if the patient has frozen shoulder or glenohumeral arthritis?
Myofascial lines or chains are similar to the meridians.
Meridian Systems, tai Yin Channels & Stomach Points
Lower Three Emperors, 77.17, 77.18, 77.21, SP 9, SP 6
In Master Tung style acupuncture we will typically use the meridian systems to determine what points to needle. For instance, for anterior shoulder pain in the lung meridian we are likely to choose 77.17 and 77.18, or the Lower Three Emperors. This is because of the tai yin relationship between the lung and spleen meridians.
For anterior and lateral shoulder pain we may also choose ST 38, 77.08, 77.09, 77.11 (Four Flowers), or 77.24 and 77.25. That's six points on the stomach meridian we can potentially needle. I also like the Three Weights (77.05, 77.06, 77.07) for anterior and lateral shoulder pain. That brings the total up to nine points on the stomach meridian we can choose for shoulder pain in the large intestine meridian (yang ming connection).
While the meridian systems work great in many cases, there are also clients that don't respond to those kind of point selections.
Have you ever needled ST 38, 77.17 (SP 9), and 77.18 but didn't get a result? Then what did you do, go for Ling Gu or Jian Zhong? Those points often work great, but sometimes they don't. Ok, let's try Fan Hou Jue and see what happens.....this is the shot gun style approach to acupuncture.....throw in a bunch of points and hope you hit the right one.
Then what do when the client gets 50% improvement but still has limited range of movement and lingering pain at a level of 5 or 6?
Shoulder Joint Anatomy
To get better results with shoulder pain it is important to understand the anatomy of the shoulder joint. While the traditional meridian systems and methods often work great, around 20% of people won't respond.
This is where integrating traditional meridian systems, Tung's points, and functional anatomy can greatly improve our treatment outcomes.
Let's look at some of the basic anatomy of the shoulder. Remember that the shoulder joint consists of three bones the clavicle, humerus, and scapula.
There are also four major joints of the shoulder: the sternoclavicular (SC), acromioclavicular (AC), scapulothoracic (ST), and glenohumeral (GH) joints.
Gray, Henry; Van Dyke Carter, Henry; Gray’s Anatomy;
Public Domain, Wiki Commons.
One way to better understand Tung's points is to compare them to traditional points. For instance, ST 38 is known to be a very effective point for shoulder pain. I have even used that point with some of Tung's points nearby, and on the stomach meridian, to treat severe pain following a dislocation of the shoulder joint. The results were amazing!
In his book Advanced Tung Style Acupuncture: The Dao Ma Needling Technique of Master Tung Ching-Chang, James Maher lists two groups of points on the stomach meridian in the leg that may be used for frozen shoulder and glenohumeral arthritis. These two points groups include the Four Flowers (77.08, 77.09, and 77.11), and 77.24 and 77.25 (Zu Qian Jin & Zu Wu Jin).
Stomach Meridian Points for Shoulder Pain: ST 38, 77.08, & 77.09
Let's look at this in more detail. The image shows what is known as the
Superficial Front Line (SFL) in myofascial anatomy. Notice how it looks a lot like the ST meridian. The SCM muscle is a part of this line as is the point ST 10. Coming down the line we find that the stomach points on the abdomen and in the rectus abdominis are also a part of the SFL.
Additionally, the tibialis anterior muscle and points ST 36, ST 37, and ST 38 are all on this myofascial line. The Master Tung points 77.08 and 77.09 are also on the SFL and are located between the tibia and tibialis anterior muscle.
Remember that stomach 38, 77.08, and 77.09 can all be used for shoulder joint pain. They tend to be used for lateral or anterior shoulder pain due to the yang ming connection between the LI and ST meridians. They may also be used for pain around LU 1 and LU 2. This is the ST - LI - LU - SP (yang ming - tai yin) connection.
The SC and AC Joints
The clavicle connects to the sternum and acromion to form the SC and AC joints. On the medial edge of the SC joint the chest fascia, SCM and sternalis muscles conjoin.
The myofascia that meet at the SC joint are all on the SFL and ST meridian. Through mechanical force transmission (qi propagation) with acupuncture points on the legs, and in the region of ST 36 - ST 38 we can affect the SC and AC joints.
Remember that LI 16 is located right at the AC joint and LI 15 is in this region as well. It is this association of the ST meridian, SFL, and clavicle that make it possible to use points on the stomach meridian for shoulder pain. This also explains why these points work best for anterior and lateral shoulder pain in the LU and LI meridians.
Myofascial Anatomy & Mechanical Force Transmission is the Answer to so Many Mysteries about Acupuncture.
Learn How to Get Reliable, Consistent, and extremely effective Results for Shoulder Joint Pain with acupuncture
There are over 25 points in TCM and Tung style acupuncture for treating the shoulder joint. In TCM shoulder pain is usually classified as Bi syndrome or qi and blood stagnation, but this gives limited information on what points will work best for each patient. Additionally, frozen shoulder, rotator cuff issues, bicep tendinopathy, bursitis, arthritis, and cervicogenic disorders are all factors that relate to the shoulder.
In my 210 course I cover all the major points for treating the shoulder joint in the context of Tung's points, TCM, and myofascial anatomy.