Why Use A Ruler In Abdominal Acupuncture?

When I first discovered AA in China, the first thing I noticed was the “strange points” used on the belly and secondly that the doctors used a ruler to locate the points. Bizarre! After being given some basic information, I still didn’t get it. I do know how to locate St 25 or Rm 12, I don’t need to measure. Or so I thought.

After working with the eye measurements and also with the traditional way to measure, I finally returned to the root. Dr Bo’s idea and way to work. It was a long journey of gathering experiences. I am still on it. Don’t get me wrong, I did some good work with my first way of point location, but there was always something missing.

Doing some courses with Dr. Paul Ryan, a direct student of Dr. Bo, who teaches the ruler-method, I started using it myself. At first it was a bit awkward, but after 3 or 4 patients it became a standard routine. I even joke with my patients, saying that I’m drawing some artwork on their bellies.
Using a surgeon pen, avoids skin reaction. It is easy to remove and my pen has even a bigger and a thinner part to draw on the skin.

So why it is important? 

Each person is different, we learn this very early during TCM training. The body shapes are as different as the health problems.
We learned the cun-unit measurement.  The width of the patient’s thumb equals 1 cun. In the traditional acupuncture, it’s “a given”.

AA Is Different

We use the cun as ratio and measure in centimetres. The distance above and below the navel is different and therefore the cun is different.
If you measure e.g.  16 cm between Rm 16 an Rm 8, one cun would be 2cm above the navel and if the distance below the navel measures 15 cm, 1 cun equals 1 cm. 

If you used the 2cm /1 cun unit on the whole abdomen, you would be incorrect with your point location in certain areas. It is the same with the St 25 location: The distance from the navel-centre to the flank is 6 cun. Right?

If we measure on the right and on the left side, you can find differences up to 3cm. That is huge! It explains why it is useful, actually necessary in my opinion, to use the ruler each time you treat a patient with AA.  
You may need a bit of adjustment from your side, but believe me, it is worth the effort.

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