Power of Innate Acupuncture Point Selection"
By John A. Amaro D.C., FIAMA, Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.
In the early days of my career I treated a young lady who had suffered
extensive neurologic injuries to her face after slipping while cleaning
the side of the bathtub. Her nose and facial pain were agonizing 24 hours
a day, seven days a week, and had been for over four years. She complained
of multiple paraesthesias and of her teeth feeling like "mush"
when felt by her tongue. Virtually every medical doctor in every specialty
she consulted ultimately suggested psychiatric care. This was simply out
of total frustration in their failure to eliminate or even reduce her
The DCs she saw were some of the best ranging from a variety of technique
experts to include cerebral manipulation, endonasal technique, kinesiology,
and a variety of various adjustive procedures from the atlas to the coccyx.
She consulted me for the possibility of acupuncture even though it was
very new in the country in 1973. In those early days of acupuncture, it
was the most desperate patients who sought acupuncture.
Even though I was young in my practice, I had this incredible confidence,
backed by minimal clinical experience. After numerous treatments of acupuncture,
chiropractic adjustments to the spine, manipulations of the hard and soft
palates and pulling her uvula, I came to the hard realization that I had
failed her too. I suggested a psychiatrist. Why is it so often when a
patient fails to respond, we are so eager to put the blame on their mentality?
One evening I felt a sudden urge to find a newspaper article which I had
saved in a large box in the back of my closet. Upon dragging out the box,
I sat down and started to extract stacks of papers, old photos, a slide
rule, a thousand paper clips, etc. As I was slinging items over my shoulder
onto the floor around me, a small, steno-notebook appeared. I threw it
over my shoulder to join the rest of the heap, but instead it struck me
right between the eyes, scratching my forehead with the sharp edge of
the projecting spiral binding.
The notebook landed in my lap, with a page staring up at me which said
"for nasal pain -- point #17." There was also a small, barely
legible sketch of a hand I had personally drawn with the acupoint illustrated.
This was the notebook I had used on my first visit to China in 1973 when
I visited the Tai Chung Medical School in Taipei. It was here I was first
presented with the concept of Chinese Hand Acupuncture.
Talk about something hitting you between the eyes! I immediately thought
of my patient and wondered if this point could do something for her. I
had used every method I knew and had accepted the fact that I was going
to have to relieve her from care, as it was apparent that was the only
relief she was going to experience.
On her next visit I stimulated the point on her hand I had discovered
the night before quite by accident. I remember she was irritated with
me because the only procedure I did that visit was simply to tap with
a non-invasive needle (teishein) on a point on her wrist. She felt that
the simplicity of this treatment was inadequate to help her raging pain
wanting me to do more. Frankly, at this point there was nothing else I
knew to do.
As she walked through the reception room on her way to the door following
her treatment, she slumped into a dead faint in the middle of the floor.
Upon reviving, she stated that she had been overwhelmed because as she
moved across the room her pain and paraesthesia which were of the highest
magnitude, were suddenly and instantly relieved.
No, I cannot explain it, nor does it make any sense to my physiologic
or just plain logical mind, but it happened. I shall never forget that
acupuncture point. Where's the point located? Two fingerbreadths distal
to the dorsal wrist crease in line with an imaginary line drawn down the
middle of the index finger.
Yes, the patient was released from over four years of devastating unexplained
pain and paraesthesia in a matter of seconds. An incredible testimony
for acupuncture, however it is imperative the reader come away with the
whole message not just the specific point used.
The real message is to always act upon those glimmers of innate intuitive
insight, and to truly listen to that small voice whispering in your ear
throughout the day. Anyone who has been in the health care field long
enough to be called a "veteran" certainly knows exactly what
I am talking about. Sometimes the answer to a troubling patient may come
to you in some of the most unusual ways. Always be receptive to those
innate intuitive thoughts regarding patient care.
I recall what may have been one of if not the first Graduate School program
in acupuncture in the United States when the principle speaker from Kowloon,
China stated "When you don't know what to do any more with a patient,
or didn't know what to do in the first place - - Always consider the Tsing
(jing -well) points because they're magic". My initial thought was
that this was an extremely exaggerated simplistic statement. The statement
seemed barely worthy of a note however, I scribbled the thought which
as we know unfortunately often end up buried in a myriad of words and
paper never to be seen again.
Months passed and my practice was becoming increasingly filled with fewer
and fewer open appointments as acupuncture was at fever pitch as the general
publics were inundated with positive reports of acupuncture's effectiveness
from the media.
As I was closing the office one late Spring evening, the front door opened
and standing before me were a mother and father who were carrying their
daughter who was in obvious severe neurologic insult. Gazing upon this
twisted child I wondered why due to her advanced state how the parents
could care for her. I then noticed the hospital band on her wrist. The
parents explained to me that they were in the process of returning the
child to Children's Mercy Hospital as they had been out on a very rare
day pass. Apparently today was the child's seventh birthday where she
had been taken home to celebrate her birthday with friends and family.
This would be her last birthday. The prognosis was grave.
The diagnosis from Mayo's was "idiopathic neurogenic syndrome".
Since she suffered from an unusual unexplained neurologic condition, there
was no treatment to save her life only to prolong it and that was failing.
She presented in rigid neurologic opisthotonis. Death was eminent.
On the way back to the hospital following the party which literally was
a living funeral as family and friends gathered to be with her one last
time, the parents passed my office and decided to stop. Having heard of
the benefits of acupuncture, they wondered if perhaps this could help.
Once the parents explained the gravity of the situation, the diagnosis
and prognosis I was frankly overwhelmed. With tears streaming down their
faces they asked if I could treat their "baby"? Looking at this
pitiful rigid child and the parents, I reluctantly told them "I'm
sorry, this is really out of my league, I wouldn't even know where to
begin". When they asked if I would just try as there was literally
nowhere else to go or do and would I just even work on her as a research
project? I again responded with apologies and sorrow that "I wouldn't
even know where to begin".
It was at that point it was like someone was sitting on my shoulder whispering
in my ear saying "When you don't know what to do any more or didn't
know what to do in the first place - - always use the Tsing points because
they're magic". Was it a thought in my head or were these really
words being whispered to me? In any event, the feeling was too strong
to ignore. I took a non-penetrating teishein (which is one of the original
nine acupuncture needles first described) and stimulated each and every
one of the 12 meridian Tsing points next to the nail bed for approximately
15-20 strokes apiece. I then took a green marking pen and marked each
point I had just stimulated with the instruction to the parents that they
repeat this procedure every day in the morning and evening using a ballpoint
Even though they realized that they were now on the way back to the hospital
to watch their daughters eventual demise, they left the office with a
glimmer of hope and the words of a Master that I am embarrassed to say
I never even got his name.
That event happened on a spring evening. On a fall morning several months
later, this child began school with her regular class. I only officially
saw her once, however the parents stimulated the Tsing points of that
child with love, compassion and expectation twice a day. I was invited
to her eight-birthday party! To this day I still use a green felt tip
pen to mark points for follow up stimulation.
Where did this point selection come from? It had absolutely nothing to
do with my academic excellence or highly evolved intellect; it came directly
from innate intuition and listening to what was being heard. How many
times have we heard but didn't listen? Sometimes we are afraid to act
because the thought may be contrary to what we felt was proper academia.
Be alert and aware of the many clues and fleeting thoughts received throughout
the day. Acting upon some of these innate intuitions can be extremely
My last celebrated case of innate intuition bordered on being almost eerie.
I recently saw a middle aged woman complaining of multiple visceral symptomatologies.
It appeared as every system of her body was pathologically involved from
respiration to cardio-vascular, digestion, musculo-skeletal, lymphatic
and endocrine. She had seen a variety of specialists and was actually
on 14 different medications. She presented an extremely complicated case
history which when the primary doctors she was seeing reports came in
actually had to be filed in two file folders due to the sheer mass of
I began treatment on her using the "Electro Meridian Imaging"
(EMI) method of diagnosis which virtually showed 10 of her 12 meridians
extremely involved. She had been to a TCM practitioner who I know of stellar
reputation who even with his years of practice and study could not commit
to a TCM diagnosis. To say this was a complicated case would be an understatement.
One afternoon while driving my car I was stopped in traffic when I found
my self mentally wandering and thinking of this particular patient and
what might be her underlying problem and what could I do for her? As I
sat there just gazing out the passenger window another vehicle pulled
up beside me rolling just pass my window as his rear bumper came in my
direct view. I couldn't help but notice his license number from another
state it was "LU6-TW4".
I tried my best to talk myself out of using these two acupuncture points
on this patient however having been in similar situations before, I had
no choice. Following the first treatment, the patient's condition worsened,
which I did not think was possible considering how severe she was. However,
by the next morning she reported feeling considerably improved. I treated
her two times a week for four weeks at which time she stated she felt
like an entirely new person. I also balanced her meridians through Electro
A recent examination by her primary medical physician has revealed major
improvements in her blood chemistry. Her symptoms are a fraction of what
she previously experienced. Her EMI exam is close to being balanced. She
is energetic, sleeps all night and has regained her appetite. She came
into the office today stating she had just signed up for a yoga class.
She is excited about the future as her extreme depression is now just
a memory. She has had a total of twelve treatments
As I try to justify the rational of the two points used so successfully
namely LU6 and TW4 I realize LU6 is the Hsi point and TW4 is the Yuan
point. They have to have a rational explanation. However, how they worked
together in the success of this case is a mystery to me. I guess the biggest
mystery is, whose car was that?
Of course this is just a freaky coincidence, a script from a Twilight
Zone movie, a total fabrication, a dream after too many Shitake mushrooms,
our rational mind will not allow for any other explanation. However, these
events are around us daily. Take advantage of them.
We are often presented with the answer to our patients or our own problems
in unusual ways. We may see a sentence in a book, see a billboard which
may trigger a thought, hear a statement on TV -- act upon it. Don't be
afraid to let intuition enter your thoughts. These thoughts coupled with
sound academic principles are extremely powerful. Keep yourself mentally
attuned by constant reading and study but also allow the sixth sense to
become a part of your being.
One of the most significant Masters I have had the good fortune to study
with said it best " When the student is ready, the teacher shall
Best Wishes for a Healthy Happy Productive 2003
John A. Amaro D.C., FIAMA, Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM) (IAMA), L.Ac.