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Treating Pain with Master Tung Points, Part 1

If there’s one thing that we all see and/or hear about lately in the medical field, it’s
pain. Americans consume 80 percent of all pain medicine prescriptions in the
world, despite making up 5 percent of the world’s population. We are a country in
pain, addicted to our pills. Western medicine just doesn’t have many good ways to
address it. As a result, pain is the primary reason people see acupuncturists and
the top search word that patients usually use to find an acupuncturist. It’s the most
common reason other medical professionals will refer to an acupuncturist and pain
is what has made acupuncture famous.

During the last seven years—and 65,000 treatments—at my clinic, this is the
breakdown of patients’ chief complaints. The top six are all basically pain related.
One could argue that the next five complaints could be a result of chronic long-term
pain as well. I can’t tell you how many people I see who have low libido, low zest
for life, poor sleep, emotional problems, bad digestion, fertility issues, weight
challenges and general weakness—all because of pain. It’s a huge problem!

Top complaints in my clinic:

 Upper neck/shoulder pain


 Low back pain

 Obviously it’s important to be able to treat pain quickly and effectively. This
is the first in a three-part series about the importance of treating pain on
many levels. It will also focus on using Master Tung acupuncture points, a
centuries-old family lineage system rooted in the theory of the I Ching and
embryonic holographs. In my experience, these points, which have been
vetted over hundreds of years of clinical use, can often deliver immediate
pain relief and lasting healing in virtually all of your pain patients. Yes,
Master Tung was that good.

I was taught by Wei Chi Young (a student of Master Tung’s) and Dr. Tan, creator of
the Balance Method, which borrowed heavily from Master Tung’s work. I see 100
people a week in my three-room clinic and patients seek me out because I’m
known as the “pain guy who can fix things with needles.” I’m successful because of
the Master Tung distal acupuncture style that delivers instant relief and also treats
and heals the root cause. I’m not talking about temporary pain relief through the
release of systemic endorphins, but actual tissue healing, pain elimination and
restoration of homeostasis in the body. It’s what I call “full expressive passionate
living without pain!”

Treating pain—and its sequelae—is the “gateway” to most patients and their other
health issues. Once you “prove” that acupuncture works to help their pain, patients
will often allow you to tackle their other problems and start referring other patients
to you. Do you want a busy, fun, happy healthy clinic? Then get really good at
treating pain—and treating it instantly! That will revolutionize your practice, your
patients, your bank accounts, and your clinic.

One mistake many acupuncturists make, including Master Tung and Dr. Tan
practitioners, is treating the root of the pain and missing the branch. Most of our
patients don’t care about their spleen qi xu or whether their kidney yang xu is
weak; all they care about is “my freaking back hurts and I can’t work.” My 90-year-
old patient who’s suffered with chronic pain for 15 years because of a failed knee
replacement doesn’t care about the damp phlegm in her joints that may be causing
her pain; she just wants to be able to stand in her kitchen and cook and not have
her leg go out on her. After her sixth treatment, she was so excited and happy
because now she can cook for her family without being in agony. We are defined
by our success as defined by the patients, not us. If we fix their root issue and yet
miss the branch, we have failed them.

Another mistake practitioners are guilty of making is taking too long to reduce a
patient’s symptoms. None of my patients can wait months to feel better. And most
are not coming in for preventative care. We live in a “fast food nation” and that
applies to health care, whether we like it or not. They want relief right now! We
have to be able to deliver a system of healing that meets those demands. Again,
that’s the beauty of the Master Tung system. There are 700 points in the Master
Tung system, most of them distal, which makes them very convenient and safe to
use (they’re never over any organs). I’ve utilized them all over the world to treat
everything from ankle pain to leprosy and the results really are amazing. I love
other styles as well—trigger points, local, hand, ear, and abdominal acupuncture—
but I think Master Tung acupuncture is perfect for our modern-day pain filled
patient. In the next two articles, we’ll be looking more in depth at pain and Master
Tung acupuncture. I’ll review the most used, reliable, predictable and successful
points, including five “magic” points for low back and neck pain that will instantly
transform your patient outcomes (and no, it’s not the famous Ling Gu that everyone
has heard about; there are even better points for back pain).

Treating pain is your gateway to a massively busy clinic, tons of referrals, happy
patients, word- of-mouth advertising, Western medical acceptance, and a lot of
healing. Master Tung acupuncture could be a very successful and immediate
vehicle to get to that point.

I’m just Brad. I have no magic needle, no golden touch; I have no privileged
information or powerful potions. If I can do it, anybody can! Step by step, needle by
needle, and patient by patient. We learn. All this information is available to
everybody. There are no secrets!

Master Tung Part Two: Low Back Pain


I think talk is cheap. It’s easy to sit around and talk about how great this system is,
or how wonderful that point is, or what a good job we did. I think the only
measuring stick we should use is “do our points and our style end the pain and
suffering of others?” And more important, “do they work more than 80 to 85 percent
of the time?” I think the strength of the Master Tung points is one of predictability.
My favorite example is when I ask my wife, who isn’t an acupuncturist, to needle
me. Sometimes I have pain and I can’t needle myself so I ask her if she’ll do it. I tell
her exactly where to needle and what to do. And guess what? The points still work.
The Tung points are arranged into 10 bodily regions described below and the effect
of the Tung points are predictable, reliable and consistent.

There are 10 major bodily regions in the Tung system:

Each point within each region has an assigned number, much like we refer to Lung
“7 “or Spleen “6”. They all have names too but we’re going to refer to the numbers
in this article to make it easier to understand. I do urge all practitioners to learn the
Chinese names, which truly denote the riches of the points (e.g., point 11.17 is
called “wood anger,” which gives you an idea of its potential uses). Sometimes the
points are similar to TCM points (e.g., Pian Jian, which translates to “side of
shoulder” and is located near Large Intestine 15) and sometimes the point may be
the same as the TCM point but the Tung location is slightly different. Part of the fun
of learning the Tung system is learning these alternate locations.

I always say TCM points show a path, Tung points show an area. In the same way
that a TCM channel is thought of like a river, the Tung points should be thought of
as the geographical locations (like the states) through which the river runs.

For the rest of this post, we’re going to look at low back pain, perhaps the most
common condition you see in your clinic. Here, out of all the complexity of the
Master Tung system, are five (whittled down to four) needles that can vastly
improve your clinical outcomes today on every patient complaining of low back
pain. Most practitioners have probably heard of Ling Gu (point 22.05, at the
junction of the first and second metacarpals). It has many indications and one of
them is low back pain. As much as I love Ling Gu, I do think there are better points
for low back that are certainly much less painful, so let’s talk about some
alternatives.

LI 15 (Pian Jian): It’s used for intestinal issues but also sciatica and back pain. Why
do I like this point so much? The Tung system takes advantage of homologous
structures (meaning “like for like”) and the shoulder is a better homologous of the
back than is the wrist (which Ling Gu is located near), in my opinion. It’s in a bigger
muscle, bone and tendon structure and also in a joint, just like the back pain. Like
Ling Gu, it’s on the Large Intestine channel, which will treat the Stomach (the
psoas), Kidney (spine), Liver (the “Jin,” which is responsible for tendons, ligaments
and muscles), and since it’s a Yang Ming channel it moves lots of Qi and Blood.
Finally, there are fewer nerves in the upper arm and it’s a less painful location than
Ling Gu to have needled.
88.25 (Zhong Jiu Li or Center Nine Miles, aka GB 31): Many people love to argue
about this location. Is it GB 31 or not? I use the location that Wei Chi Young taught
me, which is at GB 31. (You can locate it anyway you like. I find the midpoint of the
lateral thigh and then I find the most ashi spot around GB 31.) This is the top point
in the Master Tung system for systemic stress, insomnia and pain. I love it for any
and all pain because people with pain always have stress and sleeping issues. You
can tackle all three issues with one point. One thing I see all the time is that many
people don’t like to use the upper leg and or upper arm for treatment relying so
much on the “below the elbow and knee” points. The upper leg and arm are just
amazing! I would urge any and all acupuncturists to start viewing the upper leg and
upper arms as wonderful sections for treatment.

33.12 (Xin Men or Heart Gate): It is 1.5 cun distal from the olecranon on the SI
channel, just distal to SI 8. This is a famous point for inner knee pain but it’s also
very effective for low back pain, in particular around the L2 and coccyx area. The
SI channel will treat the Bladder and Kidney in the low back. From a homologous
structure standpoint the elbow along the arm corresponds more to the L2 area. Via
the 12 segments and or 3 jiao concepts this point is in the lower jiao and or coccyx
area.

1010.25 (Zhou Shui or State Water) These are two points in the Du 18 area,
threaded down from the upper to the lower Du 17 area (the external occipital
protuberance/EOP). This is an easy point for those acupuncturists not familiar with
Tung points because it’s on the Du Channel and the location is already known.
This point is remarkable for sciatica, Du channel pain and low back pain.
Traditionally this was done with two needles in the Tung system but I prefer one
needle. I will typically thread one needle from DU 18 down to DU 17 and tap the
EOP with the needle tip. The magic of these points is not the points themselves but
the synergy of them. When you use LI 15, 1010.25 and 33.12 on the opposite side
of your pain and 88.25/GB 31 on the same side of your pain you have a very
potent four-point combo for almost any type of low back pain (from L2 to coccyx
area) that you will see in your clinic. All your images, channels, theories, blood
stagnation, constriction, swelling, bone issues, compression, degenerations, disc
involvement, muscle problems and other “usual suspects” are treated with this
four-point combo. The four low back pain points here will cover all of the problems I
mentioned. The secret to treating back pain is not using a point that someone says
“treats low back pain”. That is a trap. Low back pain? Is that L2? L5? T12? S2?
Bone? Muscle? Tendon? L5/S1 joint? Disc? Qi and blood issues? Swelling? Is it
the erectors muscles? Paraspinals? QL’s? Psoas? Multifidus? 2 of those? 6 of
those, 1 of those? You see “treating low back pain” can be ANYTHING! It’s not
enough to know what any point “treats”, you need to know what your points or
theory doesn’t effectively treat! Only then when you know what your points don’t
treat will you know what they do treat.

Are there other points for the back? Of course. There are maybe 100 or so more.
But these points we’ve discussed are extremely reliable, consistent, dependable
and most of all won’t hurt your patients when you needle them.