Points are identified in a number of different ways. Common identification is with a Chinese name or a combination of the channel and a number for the point on the channel. For those of us in the US, remembering the Channel and point number is much easier than remembering the Chinese name. Yet, Chinese names have a unique importance to understanding the point. The Chinese names were one of the ways which the vitality of the point was expressed.
Besides the naming conventions, groups of points are combined by common themes or categories. One of the categories is the “Transport Points”. Similar to understanding algebra in order to understand chemistry, the transport points are a foundational step to higher learning in Chinese Medicine.
The five transporting (shu) points are referred to as follows: Jing (Well) , Ying (Spring) , Shu (Stream) , Jing (River) and He (Sea). These acupuncture points belong to the “twelve regular” meridians and are located below the elbows or knees. The Five Transporting (Shu) points start at the tip of the four limbs and continue all the way to the elbows or knees.
Each of the transport points will have a general definition which includes information on how the Qi flows at the transport point and some general pathology. The movement of Qi is correlated with the movement of water. At the Jing Well point, Qi emanates like a well. The Ying Spring point is the point where Qi glides. The Shu Stream point is the point where Qi flows through. The Jing River point is where Qi flows. The He Sea point is where the rivers join the sea.
The meridians also give definition to the transport points. The twelve regular meridians are identified by an organ in the body and are separated into yin and yang meridians. The yin meridians are: lung, kidney, liver, heart, pericardium, spleen. The six yang meridians are: large intestine, bladder, gall bladder, small intestine, san jiao, and stomach.
On the yin meridians, the Jing Well is associated with wood, Ying Spring with fire, Shu Stream with earth, Jing River with metal, and He Sea with water. On the yang meridians the Jing Well is associated with metal, Ying Spring with water, Shu Stream with wood, Jing River with fire, and He Sea with earth.
There are many theories in Chinese Medicine. The general pathology definition of the transport points makes them useful in Organ theory. The association of the transports points with one of the elements makes the transport points useful in Five Element theory. The five transport points plus Five Element theory becomes instrumental in Branch and Stem theory. Like addition and subtraction which are useful by themselves. Combined they can form algebra. Algebra can be expanded to Chemistry. Each step becoming more complicated than the previous.
To learn more about the amazing history of Chinese Medicine, click here to check out the episode “The Mystery of Chinese Medicine, Understanding the Beginning.”