TCM Acupuncture Theory - Yuan Source and Luo Connecting Points

Traditional Chinese Medicine utilizies a number of theories which group acupuncture points together based on their functions and/or other relationships. Many of these theories are important in a clinical setting and are used, along with other theory and diagnostic information, to decide which acupuncture points will be used for a given condition.

Below you find information regarding the yuan source and luo connecting points. See our Acupuncture Point Categories section for a complete list of point categories.

For complete information about a single point, click on it within the chart.

Yuan Source Points Theory and Applications

  • The Yuan Source points are where the Yuan Qi, the body's primordial Qi, pools.
  • Each of the 12 meridians has a Yuan Source point including the TH which is also the meridian responsible for circulating the Yuan Qi.
  • With their relationship to the primordial Qi, the Yuan Source points indicate the nature of Yin in the body and the Yin Yuan Points can be used to tonify the 5 Yin Organs (HT, LU, SP, KD, LV) a/or as diagnostic tools for the 5 Yin Organs.
  • The Yang Yuan Points are not used to tonify yang organs but can be used to expel pathogenic factors a/or release excess patterns.
    • LI 4 - expel wind heat
    • TH 4 - clears heat from the GB
    • SI 4 - treat pain along the SI meridian
    • ST 42 - acute facial paralysis from wind-cold
    • GB 40 - resolve LV Qi stagnation
    • UB 64 - resolve damp cold in the lower warmer

Yuan Source Points Chart

Lung LU 9 Urinary Bladder UB 64
Large Intestine LI 4 Kidney KD 3
Stomach ST 42 Pericardium PC 7
Spleen SP 3 Triple Heater TH 4
Heart HT 7 Gall Bladder GB 40
Small Intestine SI 4 Liver LV 3

Luo Connecting Points Theory and Applications

  • Luo Connecting Points are where a separate channel splits off from the main flow and connects with the Yin/Yang paired meridian.
  • Can be used to diagnose and treat channel problems based on fullness (pain, heat) or emptiness (stiffness, weakness).
  • May be used to treat the Yin/Yang paired organ.
    • LI 6 - edema (LU's water regulating function)
    • SI 7 - calm and regulate emotions (HT relationship)
    • ST 40 - eliminates phlegm (supports SP)
    • GB 37 - eye problems (supports LV)
    • UB 58 - cold in the lower back (KD deficiency)
    • PC 6 - nausea via connection with the TH and travelling through the 3 warmers
  • May be used to treat emotional disharmonies.
    • LU 7 - sadness
    • PC 6 - insomnia, anxiety
    • SI 7 - anxiety
    • HT 5 - agitation, depression, stress
    • ST 40 - bi polar disorder, manic episodes
    • SP 4 - manic depression, restlessness
    • LV 5 - plum pit qi, depression
  • There are 4 group luo points which are used in cases where 3 related meridians are imbalanced.
    • TH 8 - treat the 3 Yang meridians in the arm (LI, TH, SI)
    • PC 5 - treat the 3 Yin meridians in the arm (LU, PC, HT)
    • GB 39 - treat the 3 Yang meridians in the leg (ST, GB, UB)
    • SP 6 - treat the 3 Yin meridians in the leg (SP, LV, KD)
  • There are 16 connecting channels: 1 for each of the 12 meridians, a great luo point for the ST as well as the SP in addition to their regular luo points, 1 for the CV and 1 for the GV.
    • LU separates at LU 7, follows the LU channel into the palm, spread through the thenar eminence and connects with the LI
    • LI separates at LI 6, joins the LU meridian, ascends the arm going through LI 15 to the jaw where it divides, one branch going to the teeth and the other enters the ear
    • SP separates at SP 4, connects with the ST meridian, ascends up the medial aspect of the leg and connects with the Stomach and intestines
    • SP Great Luo separates at SP 21, spreads through the chest and the lateral costal region
    • ST separates at ST 40, joins the SP, ascends the leg and continues to the base of the neck where it joins the Qi of the other yang channels and terminates in the throat
    • ST Great Luo is sometimes seen as a throbbing below the left breast and connects with the LU
    • HT separates at HT 5, joins the SI, follows the HT meridian to the HT and continues to the root of the tongue and into the eyes
    • SI separates at SI 7, joins the HT, ascends the arm at connects with LI 15
    • KD separates at KD 4, encircles the heel and enters internally connecting with the UB, follows up to a point below the heart and travels posteriorly spreading into the lumbar region
    • UB separates at UB 58, connects with the KD meridian
    • PC separates at PC 6, connects with the TH, ascends along the TH and connects with the PC and the HT
    • TH separates at TH 5, travels up the posterior aspect of the arm and joins the PC in the chest
    • LV separates at LV 5, connects with the GB and travels up the legs to the genitals
    • GB separates at GB 37, connects with the LV, descends and disperses over the dorsum of the foot
    • CV separates at CV 15, descends and disperses over the abdomen
    • GV separates at GV 1, ascends bilaterally along the sides of the spine to the base of the neck, spreads out over the occiput

Luo Connecting Points Chart

Lung LU 7 Urinary Bladder UB 58
Large Intestine LI 6 Kidney KD 4
Stomach ST 40 Pericardium PC 6
Spleen SP 4 Triple Heater TH 5
Heart HT 5 Gall Bladder GB 37
Small Intestine SI 7 Liver LV 5

Yuan Luo - Guest/Host - Point Combinations in Clinical Practice

  • If a meridian is deficient you tonify the Yuan Source point and disperse the Luo Connecting point on it's Yin/Yang paired meridian
  • If a meridian is excess you disperse the Yuan Source point and tonify the Luo Connecting point on it's Yin/Yang paired meridian
  • Some Examples:
  • LI 4 (source) w/ LU 7 (luo) - sore throat, nasal congestion, colds and respiratory flu
  • LU 9 (source) w/ LI 6 (luo) - acute upper body edema
  • SP 3 (source) w/ ST 40 (luo) - phlegm
  • HT 7 (source) w/ SI 7 - psycho-emotional issues
  • KD 3 (source) w/ UB 58 (luo) - lower back problems, weakness in the lower limbs
  • LV 3 (source) w/ GB 37 (luo) - eye problems caused by LV disharmonies

Sources and resources for further study

There are many resources which discuss acupuncture and chinese medicine at varying levels. Our research section includes a comprehensive list of the main texts and websites related to chinese medicine. Below are the sources that were used for this section:

  • Hartstein, Rachel: New England School of Acupuncture, Actions & Effects Lecture Notes
  • LaBruzzo, Cynthia: New England School of Acupuncture, TCM Theory Lecture Notes