What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate and regulate the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is the body’s vital energy.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, health is seen as the result of a harmonious balance between the opposing forces of Yin and Yang, as well as the smooth flow of Qi and Blood through the body’s meridians or channels. When there is an imbalance or blockage in the flow of Qi, it results in illness or discomfort.


What is the Balance Point?

The concept of a “balance point” typically refers to the idea of achieving balance and harmony within the body’s energy systems.  Licensed acupuncturists aim to restore this balance by needling specific points along the meridians to regulate the flow of Qi. By stimulating these points, acupuncturists can help the body regain its natural balance and promote healing.


The concept of one “balance point” in acupuncture is, therefore, a metaphorical one. It doesn’t refer to a specific anatomical location where balance is achieved, but rather to the overall goal of achieving balance and harmony in the body’s energy systems through the stimulation of various acupuncture points. The specific acupuncture points are chosen and the treatment plan may vary depending on the individual’s condition and the practitioner’s assessment of the patient’s unique energy balance dysfunction.


Is there an Acupuncture Point that can be used for creating “balance”?

Whether a person is coming in for pain management from sports injuries, strengthening one’s immune system, or for women’s health, acupuncture treatment treats the whole person.  However, when people feel that they have a balanced lifestyle, they are free of stress, anxiety, depression, or irritability.


In certain circumstances, one acupuncture point may be all one needs to feel centered, and devoid of anxiety and agitation.  Although an acupuncture treatment usually is a combination of points, here are a few powerful points that can be used either with acupuncture needles, ear tacks, or ear seeds:


Point Zero

Point Zero, a noteworthy auricular acupuncture point situated at the center of the ear, holds significant importance in the field of acupuncture. This point, located precisely at the base of the ear’s helix, plays a crucial role in balancing the body’s energy systems. Acupuncturists often use Point Zero to address a wide range of conditions, as it is believed to have a harmonizing effect on the entire body. By stimulating this balancing point, practitioners aim to restore equilibrium and promote overall well-being. Point Zero is commonly employed to alleviate stress, anxiety, and emotional imbalances, making it an invaluable tool in acupuncture for enhancing mental and emotional health. Additionally, it is used to support various physical ailments, acting as a key component in holistic healing practices that seek to address both the body and mind.


Yin Tang

Yin Tang is an acupuncture point located between the eyebrows that is often used for its calming and balancing effects. It is not a “balance point” in the sense of a universal point for achieving balance, but rather a specific acupuncture point known for its ability to promote relaxation and a sense of equilibrium.  It is sometimes referred to as the “Third Eye” point in certain alternative healing traditions.


Acupuncturists may use Yin Tang to address conditions related to stress, anxiety, and emotional imbalances. Stimulating this point is believed to help calm the mind, relieve tension, and restore balance to the body’s energy. It is often used in conjunction with other acupuncture points tailored to the individual’s specific needs as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to promote overall well-being and emotional harmony.


Heart 7

In acupuncture, Shenmen (also known as HT7 or Heart 7) is considered a significant balancing point. It is located on the wrist, in the depression on the ulnar end of the transverse crease of the wrist.  Shenmen translates to “Spirit Gate” in Chinese, and it is believed to have a profound effect on the spirit, emotions, and mental well-being.


Stimulating Shenmen is thought to balance the Heart meridian, which is responsible for regulating emotional and mental activities. By balancing the Heart meridian, Shenmen is used to treat conditions related to emotional disturbances, anxiety, insomnia, and palpitations. It is also employed to promote relaxation, calm the mind, and alleviate stress.


Acupuncturists often use Shenmen in combination with other points tailored to the individual’s specific condition, as part of a holistic approach to balancing the body’s energy and promoting emotional and mental harmony. When used in acupuncture treatments, Shenmen is seen as a key point for addressing imbalances in the body’s energy, contributing to an overall sense of well-being and balance.


Shenmen (Ear point)

Shenmen is indeed a notable ear acupuncture point. In auricular acupuncture, the external ear is considered a microsystem of the entire body, where specific points on the ear correspond to various organs and body parts. Shenmen, also known as the “Divine Gate” or “Spirit Gate,” is one of the most significant and commonly used points on the ear.


Shenmen, located in the upper part of the ear’s triangular fossa (the concave, triangular-shaped area), is known for its calming and balancing properties. It is often utilized to address emotional and psychological concerns, including anxiety, stress, and mood imbalances. Stimulating this point is believed to help relax the mind, reduce tension, and restore emotional equilibrium.


Auricular acupuncture practitioners may use Shenmen in combination with other ear points, depending on the specific needs of the individual. By targeting Shenmen and other related ear points, acupuncturists aim to balance the body’s energy and promote overall emotional and mental well-being.


A licensed acupuncturist will be able to correct imbalances by choosing the right combination of acupuncture points for your specific needs and help you find the balance point in your life.


Dr. Minna Yoon, ND, L.Ac. is a naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist practicing in the Inner Sunset in San Francisco, California.


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