Abdominal acupuncture used to treat chronic pain

Chronic Neck, Shoulder and Lumbar Pain

Susan had used acupuncture before and was familiar with the nature of regular acupuncture treatments. She had used it to help her to conceive her twins and three years later she decided that she should see if it could help her with the right sided back, neck and shoulder pain she was experiencing. Her neck and shoulder gave her the worst pain and discomfort. She was constantly massaging and cracking her neck in an attempt to get momentary relief. She would regularly stretch her neck to alleviate the tension. She had varying degrees of pain all along the Huato Jiajii points on the right side of her back and had frequent bilateral lumbar pain and stiffness. 

Abdominal diagnosis

Susan had a lot of stretch marks after having her twin girls. She also had an incredibly tough lower Dantian, and from below Ren 5 (Shimen) it felt like there was a metal plate implant below the surface. This area was also very uncomfortable for her when it was palpated. She said that her abdominal muscles had separated (Diastasis Recti) during her last pregnancy, due to the size of her twins. With all the loose skin and stretch marks palpation for ahshi points needed to be very focused! I had Susan tune into each area where she had pain and to give each a reference point score out of 10 or 100%. These scores would act as a baseline reference marker for the treatment, thus giving a real time indication of how affective the treatment was.

Abdominal Acupuncture first treatment

The treatment used was "Bringing Qi Home" Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 10 (Xiawan), Ren 6 (Qihai) & Ren 4 (Guanyuan), the "Abdominal Four Gates" St 24 (Huaroumen) & St 26 (Wailing), St 25 (TianShu), with Kid 17 (Shangqu) and Kid 13 (Qixue) all used bilaterally (except obviously the Ren points). After inserting these points and fixing the depth of them, I checked what the reference point score out of 10 was now at each of the painful area’s that she had referenced earlier. She had no pain in any area, except for a level 4:10 pain on the left trapezius area. I made a small adjustment to the depth of the Kid 17 (Shangqu) on the left and checked once again for the change this had made to her pain level. This minor withdrawal of the needle had completely fixed her pain. I left her to relax and enjoy the treatment for thirty minutes.

Second Abdominal Acupuncture treatment

I saw Susan again one week later and she was happy that she felt the overall improvement was about 50%. The upper back and shoulders were much better and she was not having to do neck stretches or readjustments on most days. In fact for the first three or four days after treatment she only realised that she had stopped this frequent habit, on the rare occasion, when she felt the need to do it again. She had lower back ache and stiffness after changing the babies nappies (diapers), but otherwise the pain was less than before. She felt that all of her right side was more in balance with her left side. 

In this treatment I wanted to address the Diastasis Recti and so I decided to use Sp 15 (Daheng) in favour of St 25 (TianShu). Using Sp 15 (Daheng) would help to nourish the muscles. I was also able to focus the treatment on the lower back and the right sided shoulder area which was affecting her Trapezius  and Scalene muscles. I located a small but solid ahshi node at Kid 17 (Shangqu) on the right. This felt different to the plentiful (minefield) of stretch marks which were soft and flaccid! 

The prescription I choose was, "Bringing Qi Home" Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 10 (Xiawan), Ren 6 (Qihai) & Ren 4 (Guanyuan) with bilateral Sp 15 (Daheng), St 26 (Wailing) and Kid 17 (Shangqu) on the right. I consulted with Susan as to the pain levels. The lower back and shoulder felt good. She then felt a pain in her ribs on the right and I quickly fixed this by inserting a needle lateral to Ren 9 (Shuifen) along the Kidney meridian on the affected right side. 

After the session Susan told me that the whole of her right side felt much looser and she was aware of the tension leaving her body throughout the treatment.

Third Abdominal Acupuncture treatment    

A week later Susan returned. She was happy that the neck and shoulder pain was minimal now with an 80% improvement. The irritating tension she had been experiencing in her upper back, shoulders and neck was almost non existent. She still had lower back stiffness and some pain after bending down to change the babies nappies. The rib pain never returned. Her main concern at this stage was the onset of a cold affecting her lungs and an ear ache more so on the left side. She had a little discomfort and tightness on the right trapezius again. Her cough was quite pronounced and came in powerful un controllable fits. For this reason I was eager to clear the cough quickly for fear it might aggravate her back again. 

When I palpated her abdomen it was apparent that the exceptionally hard area in her lower Dantian had become softer and was less uncomfortable to touch. 

Fig 1. Illustration of Susan's third abdominal treatment.

The prescription used was "Bringing Qi Home" Ren 12 (Zhongwan), Ren 10 (Xiawan), Ren 6 (Qihai) & Ren 4 (Guanyuan) with bilateral St 25 (TianShu), St 24 Shoulder (Huaroumen) and abdominal Lung 1 to clear the lung heat and stop her cough. I located and needled 2 ahshi points around Kid 19 (YinDu). These were needled very superficially to address the earache the ahshi on the left side seemed harder than the one on the right. After needling these both ears felt much more comfortable. 


Abdominal Acupuncture is a very effective treatment which can remedy a number of ailments at once. This particular case is still ongoing but the extent of the results after three sessions has surprised me and my client. The all over right sided pain, tension and discomfort has eased so much that it is negligible. Although the main focus of each treatment involved resolving the all over (primarily) right sided tension and pain. Initially I used St 24 Shoulder (Huaroumen), St 25 (TianShu) and St 26(Wailing) Hip pt to send Qi and Blood to all areas of the back. These points were supported with Kid points such as Kid 17 (Shangqu) for the neck in earlier treatments. Later treatments didn’t warrant these as the Ren points were used to move Qi and blood throughout the spine. 

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