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Home > Education > Theory > Luo Points

The Fifteen Luo (Connecting) Points

By Li Ding

From the book: "Acupuncture, Meridian Theory and Acupuncture Points"

"Luoxue", meaning to connect, is a point where a collateral starts to connect a definite pair of Yin and Yang meridians which are externally-internally related. The 12 regular meridians, externally-internally related in pairs, are linked together by the Luo (connecting) points in order. This establishes a continuous system for the circulation of qi and blood through the 12 regular meridians, as to warm and nourish the entire body. Each of the 12 regular meridians has a Luo (connecting) Point as well as Jiuwei (Ren 15), the Luo (connecting) point of the Ren Meridian (connecting with the abdomen), Changqiang (Du 1), the Luo (connecting) point of the Du Meridian (connecting with the head), and Dabao (Sp.21), the Luo (connecting) point of the major collateral of the spleen (connecting with the hypochondriac region), a total of 15. The Spleen Meridian of Foot-Taiyin has another Luo (connecting) point Dabao (Sp.21) in addition to its original one, Gongsun (Sp.4). This is because the four extremities all acquire vital energy from the stomach. As this can not be obtained directly, the help of the spleen is required. The spleen helps the stomach to transport fluids to the five zang organs and the four extremities through its major collateral which governs both Yin and Yang collaterals of the body. Each of the 15 collaterals has its own course and distribution. Each of them has its own pathological manifestations. Consequently, the Luo (connecting) points are as important as the other specific points.

The Luo (connecting) points are all located below the elbow or knee, where the collaterals of the Yin meridians connect with their respective Yang meridians, and the collaterals of the Yang Meridians connect with their respective Yin meridians. Thus, the respective Yin and Yang meridians are internally-externally related by Luo (connecting) points. The fifteen collaterals are the major ones of the fourteen meridians, with the addition of the small collaterals, superficial ones and the tertiary ones which are divided from, governed by and dominated by the major ones. The Luo (connecting) points are locations at which the qi of the twelve regular meridians converges. Jiuwei (Ren 15), the Luo (connecting) point of the Ren Meridian, dominates the collaterals of the Yin merdians; Changqiang (Du 1), the Luo (connecting) point of Du Meridian, governs the collaterals of Yang Meridians; and Dabao (Sp.21), the Luo (connecting) point of the major collateral of the spleen, governs both the collaterals and blood vessels of the whole body. The concept of the spleen's function in keeping the blood circulation inside the vessels and preventing it from extravasation was based on the above understanding.

All of the fifteen collaterals are the passages through which qi and blood are transported into the zangfu organs and tissues of the body. An injury of the col!aterals will inhibit the circulation of qi and blood, giving rise to stagnation of qi and coagulation of blood.

Clinically, Luo (connecting) points are often combined with Yuan (source) points in the treatment of diseases. Observations of the collaterals can sometimes be used as a diagnostic aid. For example, observation of the thenar collateral for diagnostic purposes.

The chapter on meridians in the book Lingshu says,

"The fifteen collaterals are sometimes visable in patients suffering from Shi conditions; but are not apparent in those patients affected by Xu syndromes. Such differences vary from person to person, due to particularity of the collaterals and varying degrees of experience among observers."

"When collaterals are observed, the colour blue suggests cold and pain, while red suggests heat in the body. For example, over-riding blue at the thenar collateral implies cold in the stomach; over-riding red means heat in the stomach; complete blackness implies prolonged stagnation; a mixture of red, blue and green means invasion of pathogenic cold and heat; and light green denotes qi deficiency."

"Pricking at particular collaterals to cause some bleeding once every other day can regulate Xu and Shi conditions in certain diseases."

The application of Luo (connecting) points in general is summarized in the table "Distribution and Indications of the Fifteen Luo (connecting) Points". For example, Waiguan (S.J.5) is used with reducing method for acute elbow pain and an excessive condition of the collaterals of the Shaoyang meridians; Tongli (H.5) is applied with reinforcing method for difficult speech and aphonia due to weakness of qi, or a deficient condition of the collaterals of the Shaoyin meridians. Luo (connecting) points are often applied in the treatment of various chronic diseases involving the internal impairment or accumulation of pathological substances such as stagnant qi, coagulation of blood, phlegm, damp, etc. Pathogenic qi may reach a collateral through a meridian, because "meridians are involved at the onset of diseases whilst collaterals are involved in the chronic cases."

Distribution & Indications of the Fifteen Luo (Connecting) Points

Luo (Connecting) Points Connected Meridians Indications
Excess Deficiency
Lieque (Lu.7) large intestine meridian feverish palm and wrist shortness of breath, frequent urination
Tongli (H.5) small intestine meridian fullness in the chest difficult speech
Neiguan (P.6) Sanjiao meridian cardiac pain restlessness
Zhizheng (S.I.7) heart meridian motor impairment warts
Pianli (L.I.6) lung meridian toothache. deafness cold in teeth, chest fullness
Weiguan (S.J.5) pericardium meridian spasm of elbow motor impairment of the elbow
Feiyang (U.B.58) kidney meridian nasal obstruction, pain in back and head epistaxis
Guanming (G.B.37) liver meridian syncope Wei syndrome
Fenglong (St.40) spleen meridian sore throat, aphonia, mania foot drop
Gongsun (Sp.4) stomach meridian sudden abdominal pain, diarrhea edema
Dazhong (K.4) urinary bladder meridian restlessness, dysuria lumbar pain
Ligou (Liv.5) Gall bladder meridian prolapse of uterus, hernia itching genitalia
Jiuwei (Ren 15) connecting with abdomen abdominal pain itching in abdominal region
Changqiang (Du 1) connecting with head spinal rigidity dizziness, heavy head
Dabao (Sp.21) connecting with hypochondrium general pain generalweakness
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