In addition to the correct choice of points, the correct needle stimulation technique is also decisive for optimal therapeutic success. The aim of every therapy is to trigger the so-called “De-Qi feeling” when the needles are inserted. Literally it means “the stimulus arrives” or “arrival of Qi”.
The patient experiences a mostly previously unknown feeling, which is described as pulling, as in the case of muscle ache, pressure, heaviness, warmth, tingling, tension or simply electrifying, as in the case of an electric shock. The needle sensation can be local, but also along the meridians. Optimal is the spreading towards the diseased region. When the doctor has inserted the needle, he should first have the feeling that the needle “slides through butter” until suddenly the needle is sucked in. Symptoms such as a short muscle twitch, a red yard on the skin or changes in temperature can also be observed.
Finding the acupuncture points
There are several methods for correctly locating the individual acupuncture points. Many acupuncture points are located at anatomically prominent points, e.g. in depressions, at muscle and tendon attachments, in skin grooves, over joint gaps, at bone protrusions, etc. In addition, points can be palpated due to changes in the consistency of the skin, pressure pain, swelling and braking effect when the palpating finger gently slides over them.
Some points can only be found by adopting a certain posture, e.g. bending of the elbow. The Chinese use the “cun” as a unit of measurement for distances on the body. 1 cun corresponds to the thickness of a thumb, 1.5 cun to the width of the index and middle fingers, 2 cun to the entire length of the middle and end phalanx of the index finger, and 3 cun to the width of the 4 fingers without thumb.
When measuring with the finger cun, it is important that the patient’s fingers, not the therapist’s, are used as the unit of measurement. The body cun, on the other hand, takes into account the proportions of the individual sections of the body by means of regional measurement distances. For example, 8 cun refers to the length of the upper arm, 19 cun to that of the thigh.
Positioning the patient
The positioning of the patient is also important. Wide couches and positioning aids such as pillows or rolls are advantageous for a relaxed positioning. The patient who is usually undressed should be covered with light silk or wool blankets.
The standard position for the prophylaxis of needle collapse and for better relaxation is the supine position. The disadvantage here is that back points can only be needled to a limited extent. The prone position is mainly used for moxibustion of back points or for needling the bladder meridian (lying on the back). All points are well reached in a sitting or standing position. The disadvantage is an increased risk of collapse and little relaxation.