Standardized Acupoints

I have wondered now and then why the description of the location of these points in various books sounded so very technical. They are not just technical, they are often dry. Even Japanese sources are strangely similar in their dryness. There are easier, friendlier ways to describe body parts, even when you are using technical language. Why make it harder to read for normal human beings?

Now I know.

WHO has a publication called WHO Standard Acupuncture Point Locations in the Western Pacific Region, and the language in that book is dry. It’s the source everyone is quoting from. I found the Japanese official translation of it too. There must be many other language versions.

Is it surprising to you that WHO has standardized the point locations?

It was to me, when I first heard about it. But it makes sense. It must have been a huge undertaking, in that a large number of experts in different countries and schools needed to come to an agreement. There was probably historic variation, too.

The screenshot below is from Amazon. The book is out of print and costs 200 dollars at least at the moment. You can see the way the points are described. Oh, so, impersonal. But I think we should forgive them for sounding a bit too technical and lofty, on the grounds that the compilation of this book was very likely an extremely difficult task. It’s useful for all beginning and intermediate learners, and wouldn’t have gotten done without someone like WHO.


Foot bath – Awesome points of the feet

One doesn’t need any knowledge of acupoints to benefit from a foot bath. But it’s fun to think about it, and I have found that the act of “thinking about it” itself is already good, in an awareness building kind of way.

These points are truly awesome. I don’t think I ever give a session without using Kidney 1, for example. Everyone needs some love at Kidney 1. It grounds and brings calmness. It nourishes and gives a bit of energy. If you pay attention, you too will feel the difference.

You will see in the list below that the reason we want our foot bath vessel to be a little deeper is Spleen 6. It is one of the main points used for obgyn conditions. It gives you a little bit of a lift. As in, you may find yourself wanting to stand taller, wanting to look forward into the future. I use it often for people with backache, too.

So here are some of the awesome points* of the feet.

Kidney 1 (gushing spring, yong quan, yusen 湧泉)

Indications: Energy depletion, Urinary problems, emotional release, revival for fainting and shock, later period, etc.

Kidney 6 (shining sea, zhao hai, shoukai 照海)

Indications: Insomnia, swollen throat, tonsilitis, dry or painful eyes, gynecological problems, ankle pain or swelling.


Liver 3 (great surge, tai chong, taishou 太衝)

Indications: Master tonic point, allergies, yin energy deficiency, foot cramps, tired eyes, toxicity, headache. (It’s supposed to be great for easing hangover symptoms. I’m waiting for an opportunity to try it myself.)


Spleen 6 (three yin crossing, san yin jiao, saninko 三陰交)

Indication: Labor (do not use during pregnancy!), genital and menstrual pain, nervous depression, nourish blood. Helps spleen, kidney and liver.


Bladder 60 (Kun Lun mountain, Kun Lun, konron 崑崙)

Indication: Headache, stiff neck, eye inflammation, back pain, sciatica and Achilles tendonitis, conditions of the uterus.


Gall Bladder 40 (Mound of Ruins, qiu xu, kyukyo 丘墟)

Indication: Sprained or painful ankle, weak joints, muscle spasms. Also diseases and conditions of the gall bladder, heartburn, shoulder discomfort, eye conditions, depression, weakness of the mind, irritability.



  • The term “awesome points” was invented one afternoon by the beloved instructor at McKinnon, Carl Johns. These really are awesome, so I call them that, too. They are used all the time, by pretty much all practitioners.
  • The points have many names. WHO standard numbering is the better known one in the US, so I have put it first. It is followed by – meaning of traditional name, Chinese reading, Japanese reading, Japanese writing. Those with knowledge of the Chinese writing system should be able to recognize most of the written Japanese names, too, since they were originally Chinese.


  • All the point location images come from the giant and wonderful book, A Manual Of Acupuncture. There is an app for it, too.
  • Many of the indications were taken from the McKinnon Acupressure Manual. It is a concise and friendly guide for beginnners. Too bad it isn’t sold outside the school.

Foot bath – find a tub!


Have I suggested regular foot baths for you yet?

Foot bath is easy, inexpensive, feels wonderful, simply awesome. It’s good for you, it’s good for me, good for pretty much everyone. (As always, please consult your doctor if you have any preexisting conditions. I am going to assume in this entry that you are in good enough health to try.)

DP122212-detailThe only thing you need is a bucket or a tub, large enough to comfortably hold both your feet. It should be deep enough to allow water to come up to about 2 inches above your ankle as well.

Which means, the tub we see in this Japanese woodblock print from early 19th century is just a little too shallow. That’s OK, since this guy is probably mostly washing his feet after a long day of walking. The picture is depicting a humorous scene in front of an inn. Two girls in the middle are literally pulling in more customers. Since it’s the 18th century, you see, the idea of making reservations doesn’t exist yet. Our guy on the right just checked in and has removed his footwear. Tub water might be warm, since it looks like the weather is a little cool. He’ll let out a sigh when his feet goes into the water.

We, too, are going to be soaking our feet. It’s going to be mostly for relaxation and health. To maximize the benefits, we need to get properly sized tubs to get the awesome acupoints of the feet warmed up.

Find a tub!

0251249_PE389842_S2.JPGThis flexible tub from IKEA seems just about right. 22 7/8 x 15 x 11, it says. Love the $4.99 price point.

(I’m not getting anything from the store when I put in links, these are just examples to show you what I am talking about.)

medium_yellow_compactOr maybe this bucket from Tugtrugs. Medium seems to be the right size at 15.5″ diameter and 12″ height. They’ve got all sorts of cheerful colors. I have a blue one in Small. It’s usable, but a bit too small. Medium recommended.


Other aspects of foot soaking, like how long to soak, how warm the water should be, do we put anything in the water, etc… I’ll get to those things in time. For now, just do it. Because warm water is great.

I will review the acupoints of the feet in my next entry.


Notes & Reference


Yey for Cupping!

Endorcement for cupping therapy from some Olympians, reported by the BBC and the NY Times. Nice! It’s good to see a great thing being recognized as such. I loooove cupping. Been using it for myself for ever.

Would you like to try it? Come in for a session!

Why are so many Olympians covered in large red circles?

What Are the Purple Dots on Michael Phelps? Cupping Has an Olympic Moment

Water – cold or hot?


I have a glass of water to drink after each session for all of my clients.On warm days, it is a glass of cold water. On chilly days it is a warm mug.

Because hydration is awesome. It’s always a good idea. Common sense for me, more than anything else. It tastes good. Do we need more reason than that?

Reasons to drink water, from around the web.

China’s go-to beverage? Hot water. Really.

Ask Well: Massage and Toxins

6 Reasons to Drink Water