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Home > Education > Theory > Yuan Source Points

The Twelve Yuan (Source) Points

By Li Ding

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

Each of the 12 regular meridians has a Yuan (Source) point near the wrist or ankle joints of the four extremities through which the vital energy of the zangfu organs passes and to some extent accumulates. "Yuan" means origin, and refers to the source of vital energy through which the pathological changes of zangfu organs are manifested. The chapter on the Nine Needles and the Twelve Sources of the book Lingshu states, "The twelve Yuan (source) points are indicated in disorders of the internal organs." The vital energy of the twelve regular meridians is ciosely associated with the Sanjiao which generalizes the functional activities of the stomach, spleen and kidney and is the manifestation of the function of vital energy. Vital energy, originating from the congen ital qi of the kidneys, is transported all over the body. It goes to the exterior, interior, superior and inferior parts of the body, following the courses of the meridians and maintaining vital functions of the human body. This process is maintained by the Sanjiao.

Clinically, Yuan (source) points are of great significance in treating diseases of the internal organs. Puncturing the Yuan (source) points stimulates the vital energy of the regular meridians, regulates the functional activities of the internal organs, reinforces antipathogenic factors and eliminates pathogenic factors. This method of treating diseases deals principally with the root causes. The Yuan (source) point from the affected meridian is often combined with the Luo (connecting) point of the internally-externally related meridians in use.

This is known as the combination of the main point (Yuan) and the accompanying point (Luo), or simply the combination of the Yuan (source) point and the Luo (connecting) point. Functionally, the Lung Meridian of Hand-Taiyin and the Large Intestine Meridian of Hand-Yangming are internally-externally related. The Yuan (source) point from the primarily affected meridian is combined with the Luo (connecting) point of its externally-internally related meridian. For example, if the Lung Meridian of Hand-Taiyin (interior) becomes diseased, sore throat, cough and asthma will occur. Taiyuan (Lu.9) is chosen as the main point and Pianli (L.I.6) is chosen as the accompanying one in the prescription. If the Large Intestine Meridian of Hand- Yangming (exterior) becomes diseased, e.g. toothache, Hegu (L.I.4), the Yuan (source) point of the Large Intestine Meridian of Hand-Yangming, and Lieque (Lu.7), the Luo (connecting) point of the Lung Meridian of Hand-Taiyin are prescribed.

Clinically, research has shown that pathological changes of the zangfu organs are often manifested at the twelve Yuan (source) points. For example, tenderness at a Yuan (source) point often indicates pathological changes of the associated meridian and the internally related organ.

In researching the meridian over the last few decades, Yuan (source) points were used as the key points to detect changes of cutaneous electrical resistance and to examine the condition of qi and blood of the twelve regular meridians. It was discovered that a significantly accurate estimation of the nature of many zangfu disorders could be made by using these methods.

The 12 Yuan (source) points are within the category of the Five Shu Points. Each Yang meridian has its own Yuan (source) point which is located between the Shu-stream point and the Jing-well point. The 6 Yin meridians do not have separate Yuan (source) points, their Shu-stream points being concurrently the Yuan (source) points, i.e. the Yuan (source) points and Shu-stream points of Yin meridians are actually the same.

The Twelve Yuan (Source) Points Meridians
Taiyuan (Lu.9) The Lung Meridian of Hand-Taiyin
Hegu (L.I.4) The Large Intestine Meridian of Hand-Yangming
Chongyang  (St. 42) The Stomach Meridian of Foot-Yangming
Taibai (Sp.3) The Spleen Meridian of Foot-Taiyin
Shenmen (H.7) The Heart Meridian of Hand-Shaoyin
Hand-Wangu (S.I.4) The Small Intestine Meridian of Hand-Taiyang
Jinggu (U.B.64) The Urinary Bladder Meridian of Foot-Taiyang
Taixi (K.3) The Kidney Meridian of Foot-Shaoyang
Daling (P.7) The Pericardium Meridian of Hand-Jueyin
Yangchi (S.J.4) The Sanjiao Meridian of Hand-Shaoyang
QiuXu (G.B.40) The Gall Bladder Meridian of Foot-Shaoyang
Taichong (Liv.3) The Liver Meridian of Foot-Jueyin
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