Understanding the Anatomy of Acu Reflex Points

Each acu-reflex point (ARP) has specific anatomic features. ARPs on the limbs are relatively safe, but prolonged infection and swelling leading to muscular atrophy—mostly results of wet needling procedures—have been recorded. ARPs on the torso close to the internal viscera merit special caution for safe needling. The following areas must also be needled with caution:

1. Cervical area (posterior) from C1 to C2: This area contains vertebral arteries and the medulla oblongata.

2. Thoracic area from T1 to T12: The surface tissue is very close to the pleura and the lungs.

3. Lumbar area from L2 to L3: This area is near the lower part of the kidney.

4. Neck (lateral and front): This area is near big blood vessels and organs.

5. Chest: This area is near the lungs and heart.

6. Abdomen: This area is near the liver, spleen, and intestines.

Types and Frequencies of TABLE 16-1 Short-Term Reactions to Acupuncture n = 9408

Reported

Reactions

Percentage

Relaxation

7436

79.1

Feeling energized

3072

32.7

Other positive reaction

166

1.8

Tiredness

2295

24.4

Pain where needle was

1154

12.3

inserted

Bruising

378

4.0

Pain other than at site of

373

4.0

needling

Feeling faint or dizzy

248

2.6

Worsening of condition

165

1.8

Nausea

111

1.2

Sweating

79

0.8

Bleeding

66

0.7

Disorientation, anxiety,

63

0.7

nervousness, insomnia,

emotional lability

Ache or discomfort other

49

0.5

than at site of needling

Itching, pins-and-needles

33

0.4

sensation, tingling

sensation, burning

sensation

Irritation or ache at site of

24

0.3

needling

Other negative reaction

33

0.4

Modified from MacPherson H, Thomas K. Short term reactions to acupuncture—a cross-sectional survey of patient reports, Acupunct Med 23:112-120, 2005.

Modified from MacPherson H, Thomas K. Short term reactions to acupuncture—a cross-sectional survey of patient reports, Acupunct Med 23:112-120, 2005.

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