The tai yang channels include the small intestine and urinary bladder meridians which run along the posterior regions of the body. This connection allows us to use points on the SI meridian to treat disorders of the UB meridian. The point small intestine 3 (SI 3) is well known for treating neck, back, and spinal pain due to it being the confluent point of the DU meridian.
In addition to SI 3 treating conditions affecting the neck, back, and spine we find two major point groups in the Master Tung system used for treating disorders in the UB channel. The points 22.08 and 22.09 are used for treating sciatica, neck pain, and pain in the back of the knee. Remember that 22.08 is essentially the same point as SI 3, and 22.09 is located one cun proximal to 22.08.
The points 33.10 (Intestine Gate), 33.11 (Liver Gate), and 33.12 (Heart Gate) are best known for treating their corresponding organs. Intestine gate treats a wide variety of digestive disorders including diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and liver-related intestinal conditions. Liver gate is used for hepatitis and its related symptoms as well as enteritis. Heart gate treats heart disorders as well as sacral pain, sciatica, and knee pain. Lesser known is that 33.10 and 33.11 treat pain in the thoracic region.
Notice how the rhomboids and levator scapulae are related to the
SI meridian and are part of the DBAL in myofascial anatomy.
One of my favorite point combinations for treating pain in the thoracic area is 33.10 and 33.11. Since these points are on the small intestine meridian they can treat the urinary bladder channel through the posterior tai yang relationship. These are great points to use for pain between the shoulder blades and spine, and when the rhomboids are tense and painful.
Another well-known point for treating upper back pain between the shoulder blades and spine is UB 57. This point works wonders in many cases, and you can often just use it with two more local ashi points in the calf muscle. However, not all clients will respond to this treatment, and when they don’t, the points 33.10 and 33.11 can often be the winning combination.
With careful palpation and assessment, you will find that when thoracic pain is closer to the spine and involves the vertebrae or erector spinae the UB points in the calves are great. However, if the scapula or rhomboids are part of the pathology, then the points on the small intestine meridian will usually work best.
It is common in clinical practice to observe patients with pain in both the SI and UB meridians. When this occurs we can refer to it as a tai yang pattern. If the client has pain in both meridians and in the upper back, then using UB 57 with local ashi points and 33.10, 33.11, and 33.12 is a powerful point combo.
To learn more about how myofascial anatomy can help you have a deeper understanding of the points and combinations visit this page Acupuncture and Fascia and subscribe to my newsletter.
Jim Spears M.S.