Without question, some of the most dynamic acupuncture points on the human body are known as the Hua Tuo jiaji points. These points are extremely easy to locate and use. They respond not only to the acupuncture needle, but also to any type of percussion such as a neurological reflex hammer, Wartenberg pinwheel, tuning fork, green and red laser, percussive instrument, gua sha, teishein (non-invasive needle) or firm digital pressure.
The points were discovered by the legendary physician Hua Tuo, who was born in 110 A.D. and lived to the unprecedented age (at that time) of 97. He was reputedly murdered by the ruler of the Wei Dynasty after the ruler suspected an assassination attempt when Hua Tuo suggested brain surgery for his severe headaches. Hua Tuo was considered immortal, as he appeared to be in the prime of life even while approaching 100 years old. He was rumored to have found the secrets of exceptional health and longevity. He was known to stimulate his discovered points routinely, which may explain his unnatural longevity and health.
Spinal points actually extend both upward through the cervical spine and downward across the sacrum. However,only the 17 bilateral points attributed to Hua Tuo carry his name as Hua Tuo jiaji. The points in the cervical spine and sacrum are correctly and simply known as jia (lining) ji (spine).The Hua Tuo jiaji points are located just 1/2 human inch (a human inch is the distance across the widest part of the patient's thumb) bilateral to the Du Mai (GV) midline over the vertebral spinous process, bilateral from T1 through L5. The shu (associated points) of the 12 primary meridians, beginning at T3, are located 1.5 tsun from the Du Mo midline. These points work in startlingly similar fashion to the meric (mere = zone) system of chiropractic.
In traditional chiropractic circles, exceptional clinical response in most health conditions is thought to be obtained by treating an insulted nerve at the level of the intervertebral foramina due to displacement of the vertebrae; in modern times, explained as a vertebral fixation. These spinal fixations will cause both hypertonicity and hypotonicity of the paravertebral musculature, resulting in a neurothlipsis or so-called "pinched nerve." The nerve involved will affect the organ and tissue at the level of the involvement. Thus, the third thoracic vertebrae has a direct response to anything in the level of the lung including the bronchi, pleura, chest, breast, etc. This same explanation extends up and down the spine with respect to all organs, muscles, bone and structures of the body.
Hua Tuo developed a system of healing that appears to be remarkably similar to this approach; however, he did it 2,000 years prior to the discovery of both osteopathy and chiropractic. By the stimulation of these specific points at the precise vertebral level, virtually any condition known to man can be positively affected. That does not mean to say these points will cure everything; however, in my experience, the success rate in using these points at the precise locations is nothing short of miraculous.
The key is to understand the exact level of the vertebra in relation to the organ and tissue it controls. For example, Thoracic 6 is specific to the stomach, whereas Thoracic 7 and 8 are specific to the spleen/pancreas. The jiaji points of C7 are specific to the thyroid, as well as the shoulders and elbows. The classic acupuncture point known as BL 10 is 1.3 tsun bilateral to DU 15, which is just below the pseudo spinous of the first cervical vertebrae. However, the jiaji point, located 0.5 tsun lateral to DU 15, will affect the pituitary gland, scalp, brain, inner and middle ear, and sympathetic nervous system. An "energetic subluxation" at this point will manifest itself in neurasthenia, insomnia, hypertension, migraine, chronic tiredness, vertigo, headaches and susceptibility to colds.
These reflexes are very specific and have been a vital part of certain specialty practices of chiropractic for well over a century. The stimulation of the Hua Tuo jiaji points is not a routine or well-known procedure in the chiropractic profession. However, the reflex levels are classic and extremely well-established. I always advise practitioners to stimulate not only the Hua Tuo jiaji points, but also the GV itself and if appropriate, the shu point during treatment. Gua sha is an exceptional way to stimulate these points, as it is quick, easy and effective.
In as much as the specific reflex areas of the spine are not exclusive to, but generally only used by specialty practices, it is assumed that most chiropractic and acupuncture practitioners are unaware of the exact location of these points. Contact me directly at if you have questions and I will be glad to help.
Click here for previous articles by John Amaro, LAc, DC, Dipl. Ac.(NCCAOM), Dipl.Med.Ac.(IAMA).