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Master Tung's Acupuncture Points 77.17, 77.18, 77.19, 77.21 (Lower Three Emperors)

Updated: Aug 28, 2023


Lower Three Emperors

In this blog, I want to share unique perspectives on Master Tung's points. One way to do this is to discuss the myofascial lines that relate to point groups. If you are already familiar with these point locations, go to the notes section below to learn more about how to optimally use this group of points.


Location: This group of points is located on the medial edge of the tibia and on the spleen meridian. 77.17 is in the same location as Spleen 9 (SP 9), and Shen Guan or 77.18 is 1.5 cun inferior to SP 9. These two points form an effective dao ma for many disorders of the pelvis, hips, and lumbar region. They can be combined with one of the following distal points.


77.19 is seven cun proximal to the medial malleolus.

77.20 is four cun above the medial malleolus.

77.21 is three cun above the medial malleolus and is the same as SP 6.


Notes: Choose three points between SP 6 and SP 9 as a dao ma point combination. Palpate to find which points along this line are most sensitive. The more proximal points of the Lower Three Emperors (77.17, 77.18) are often best for pelvic, lumbar, and shoulder conditions. The more distal points like SP 6 / 77.21 tend to have stronger systemic and neurological effects.


Any combination of three points on this line will have similar effects but clients vary in where they hold tension and trigger points. If SP 9 and Shen Guan (77.18) are most sensitive combine them with one distal point like SP 6 or 77.20.


If greater sensitivity and tension are found at the distal points like 77.20, 77.21, then needle those and include one more proximal point (either SP 9 or 77.18). For non-responders and clients with big bodies or obesity then it is acceptable to needle four points along this line.


The Deep Front Line, Leg Yin Meridians, and the Lower Three Emperors


acupuncture for the psoas, sp 9, 77.17, Lower Three Emperors, Tung's points
The Psoas and DFL

The points 77.17 and 77.18 are indicated for lumbar pain, as are many other points in the Master Tung system. Points on different meridians and fascial lines will have distinct effects.


As 77.17 and 77.18 are on the Deep Front Line (DLF) they have the potential to influence muscles on this line. The psoas muscle pictured above is also on the DFL and can play a role in lumbar pain patterns.


In cases where other muscle groups and fascial lines are involved, the Lower Three Emperors may not produce results. However, for lumbar conditions involving any of the muscles on the DFL these points are some of the best to use.


The DFL also includes the deep structures, fascia, and organs of the pelvis. Points on the spleen, liver, and kidney meridians are often used for pelvic, urinary, reproductive, and gynecological conditions. By following the pathway of the Deep Front Line we find a direct anatomical and myofascial relationship with leg yin meridians and the pelvis. Additionally, many of the visceral fascia are also included in the DFL.


Shen Guan for Shoulder Pain


The points Spleen 9 and Shen Guan are also indicated for shoulder pain. Traditionally, they are used for anterior or posterior shoulder pain in either the LU 1 region or in the small intestine meridian. While these points often give very good results when treating the shoulder, it is essential to understand the anatomy of the shoulder joint when we select which points to use.


In the Tung system there are many points we can use to treat the shoulder, and using Dr. Tan's six systems is an essential first step to getting great results. However, there are times when Tan's six systems do not give us all the information we need to make the most effective point prescriptions. Follow the link below to learn more about treating shoulder pain.


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