Download PDF File The “Leg-Three-Miles” Acupuncture Point for Internal Medicine Problems. While the comprehensive repertoire of acupuncture points includes hundreds of neurovascular
Copyright, 2007. Narda G. Robinson, DO, DVM, MS. All rights reserved.
The "Leg-Three-Miles" Acupuncture Point for Internal Medicine Problems
As early as 1000 BCE, physicians have recognized the value of acupuncture for the treatment of internal medical disorders. 1 Chinese acupuncturists understood that harmonious interrelationships were vital to health, whether the focus of this balance related to internal organs, family members, society, or the universe as a whole. These ancient healers observed that stimulation of specific sites on the body was capable of influencing broad restorative changes within the system, and they acknowledged that these effects were mediated via the vasculature and associated with nerves. 2 Modern medicine has achieved a deeper understanding of the neurophysiologic networks that provide and control the delicate moment-to-moment integration of impulses throughout the body. Nonetheless, acupuncture remains one of the most powerful approaches available to access these networks and thereby help the body return to optimal functional capacity. While the comprehensive repertoire of acupuncture points includes hundreds of neurovascular sites around the body, acupuncture treatments most often incorporate only a fraction of these. A common but mistaken assumption is that the most effective acupuncture treatments, especially those provided in China, result from complex and elaborate diagnostic analyses, stemming from mystical insights that westerners can only hope to achieve with long and concerted effort. In reality, according to Belgian physician Francois Beyens, MD, Secretary General of the International Council of Medical Acupuncture and Related Techniques (ICMART), Chinese acupuncturists use only a handful of points and yet achieve highly satisfactory results. 3 When, during his training in China, he asked his mentors why they chose only from this small subset of vital points, their reply was simply, "Because they work!" Specifically, a site on the pelvic limb called "Zusanli" (also known as Stomach 36, or ST-36) is one of the most frequently used of all acupuncture points. The Chinese name Zusanli means "Leg Three Miles". Oral tradition has it that in ancient times, most individuals traveled on foot, and stimulation of Zusanli would relieve fatigue dramatically enough that the effects would allow one to travel another three miles. 4 It was indeed common for people who were about to embark on a long journey to needle or moxa this point (which involves warming
Veith I. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1949. p. 7. 2 Kendall DE. Problems with the Energy-Meridian Theory. Obtained at http://www.ormed.edu/newsletters/energymeridian.htm on March 17, 2002. 3 Beyens, F. Personal communication, at the 1999 Annual Symposium of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. 4 Ellis A et al. Grasping the Wind. Brookline: Paradigm Publications, 1989. P. 91.