Abdominal acupuncture used to treat a hip problem

Lockdown, a real pain in the Butt!

I got a call from a new client towards the end of the day. He was in severe pain and had been stuck in bed for three days unable to move. I changed my schedule and encouraged him to come in, even though his back, left hip and Glutes were giving him serious pain. He needed to have a hot shower to ease the pain and then came straight in for a late evening appointment.

He arrived and was visibly struggling to walk with a limp, he was familiar with acupuncture as he had frequent need for it over the years working as a stunt man! He told me how his hip felt like it could collapse at any moment and that his back pain was contributing to his limited movement. He was in his early sixties and had previously had surgery to correct lumbar disc problems. He was usually very active and didn’t like to be inactive, staying in bed was not an option he cherished.

He indicated that his pain was in the Gluteus muscles and the referred pain was indicative of this being a large component of his pain, he also had lateral knee pain which suggested the Tensor Faciae Latae (TFL) was also involved. He had frequent cramping in his right calf over the last year, which he felt was the original problem that led to all his back pain!

I observed his range of motion, which was very limited, he could hardly bend forward, so I asked him to score each area of pain as he tried bending forward and then lifting his left leg. 

First Abdominal Acupuncture treatment

Palpation of Steve’s abdomen revealed a distinct mung bean like ahshi point lateral to St 26 (Wailing) the Hip point on the left. He had already got a good sense of his reference point score of 10 out of 10 for each area. His back felt comfortable in a  semi supine lying position, but pressing on his hip elicited pain, so I reminded him that this would be used to compare the pain levels as I proceeded with the treatment. 

Steve was in a lot of pain and was quite tense also, so I decided to start with Abdominal Meridian System (AMS) opening treatment or the Lotus Flower. This comprises of eight needles (Bagua) placed within a 0.5 cun radius of the umbilicus, the 0.5 cun measurement to Kidney 16 (Huangshu) is derived from the St 25 (TianShu) 2 cun distance and divided by four. The eight needles are superficially inserted around the umbilicus similar to the main points on a compass starting from North to North East, then East etc., and working all the way around in a clockwise manner. Once all the needles were inserted superficially they were directed towards the wall of the umbilicus at a 45 degree angle to a depth of approximately 0.5cun or until I observed the needle behind the wall of the navel (being careful not to puncture through the wall). This is a great way to prepare the abdominal meridian system for further treatment and it gives direct access the pre natal Qi. It also rebalance the immune, hormonal and nervous system by working on the Lungs, Spleen and Kidneys it is like rebooting her system and it often results in a reduction in pain and easing of muscle tension or spasm. For this reason it is a good idea to reference the pain before and after this part of the Abdominal Acupuncture session.

After the Lotus Flower was left for 15 minutes I checked how he was, the back seemed less tight although the pain was not obvious in this position, I saw this as a good sign. His Hip pain had improved from 10 down to 7 and his knee seemed more comfortable although he couldn’t put a figure on it! 

Fig 1 Illustration of Steve's Abdominal Acupuncture treatment

The prescription used for the rest of the treatment was, Ren 12 (Zhongwan) Ren 9 (Shuifen) and Ren 4 (Guanyuan), "Harmonising the Middle Jiao" St 25 (Tianshu) & Sp 15 (Daheng) Kid 13 (Qixue) (bilateral), Ab 7 (Qipang) on the right St 26(Wailing) Hip points bilaterally followed by Ab 4 (knee) and Ab 6 (ankle) to move Qi and Blood into the affected leg. After putting all the needles to the correct depth, I checked on the results, Steve felt very comfortable the Hip pain was now at 2 or 3:10 the knee pain was gone and his back and Glutes, felt even more comfortable and relaxed. As the pain was in the lateral and posterior area that is covered by St 26(Wailing) Hip pt I used three needles at slightly different depths to address these and also to shatter the mung bean like ahshi I had encountered there (see Fig 1)! 

At the end of the treatment he put on his shoes with ease and couldn’t quite believe that there was no real pain, just a memory or minor discomfort in his Glutes & lower back, his hip felt weak but not painful and the knee had also improved significantly he felt the overall improvement was 80%. He was like a new man leaving with a big smile.


I saw Steve three more times over the following two weeks. He had four full days of sustained good results after the first session, the back pain was almost completely gone after the second session, his hip no longer caused him severe pain but it still felt like it could implode at any time. The knee also maintained the good results so I was able to drop points, Ab 7 (Qipang), Ab 4 (knee), & Ab 6 (ankle). I didn’t use the Lotus Flower treatment again but continued with the both St 26(Wailing) Hip pt points to work on the lumbar Glutes and hip areas. On the last session his main complaint was cramping pain at UB 57 (Cheng Shan) on the right side which was resolved using Ab 7 (Qipang) on the left to direct Kidney Qi through the right leg this was then followed by Ab 4 (knee), & Ab 6 (ankle) on the right with an ahshi to address the UB 57 (Cheng Shan) area. 

I have not seen Steve in almost two weeks as he developed a cough and head cold symptoms, and is therefore he is back in a self imposed “Lockdown”, isolating at home until he is better! As far as his original problem is concerned he is still doing well.

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