Acupuncture Points Notebook

Location Guides:

: Pishu : Spleen Shu

Bl-20 : Foot Taiyang Bladder 20

Back-Shu point of the Spleen

Trigger point (Travell & Simons, 1998, Trigger Point Manual; Melzack, Stillwell & Fox, 1977, Trigger Points and Acupuncture Points for Pain: Correlations and Implications, Pain 3, p3-23)

1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the eleventh thoracic vertebra (T11).

Oblique insertion towards the spine 0.5 - 1 cun, or transverse-oblique insertion 1 - 1.5 cun

Perpendicular needling or oblique needling away from the spine carries a substantial risk of causing a pneumothorax.

TCM Actions:
Tonifies spleen qi and yang
Resolves dampness
Raises spleen qi and holds the blood
Regulates and harmonises the qi of the middle jiao

TCM Indications:
  • Distension and pain of the abdomen, focal distension, abdominal (ju ju) masses, lack of appetite, remains thin despite much eating, Spleen qi cold, undigested food in the stools, diarrhoea, dysenteric disorder, chronic childhood fright wind, childhood nutritional impairment, drum distension, deficiency-taxation, jaundice, yellow body with abdominal fullness and vomiting, pain of the lateral costal region.
  • Blood in the stools, blood in the urine, vomiting blood, menorrhagia, chronic haemorrhage, uterine prolapse.
  • Malarial diseases with chills and fever, lumbar pain, pain of the shoulder and back, yawning, cough, skin pain, turbid white urine, clonic spasm.

    Superficial Innervation: Posterior cutaneous thoracic nerves from T11
    Dermatome Segment: T11
    Deeper Structures: Dorsal rami of spinal nerves from T11

    Trigger Point Associations:
    Muscle: Longissimus thoracis
    Myotome Innervation: Posterior branches of dorsal rami from T11
    Pain Referral Pattern: Inferior to base of buttock
    Indications: Low back pain ; Myalgia of long extensors of back

    As the back-shu of the Spleen this is the main back point for digestive and abdominal issues, bleeding disorders and resolving damp.


    Ling Shu Ch. 51, On the Back Transport Points, advises that the back Shu points of the Yin organs should be pressed. If this elicits a response, either pain or the relief of a existing pain, then these points should be supplemented or drained with moxa and not pierced. To supplement with moxa the cone is to be left to burn down naturally, to drain it is to be blown on to make it burn more fiercely.

    Ling Shu Ch. 52, On the Wei Qi, considers this and the root of the tongue to be the tip of the foot Taiyin meridian with the root being at Sanyinjiao Sp-6. Later it suggests this point along with Huangshu Kid-16 and Tianshu St-25 to release evil Qi in the abdomen. It advises to press the point for a time until there is a reaction and then pierce with the fine needle and apply a draining technique. Conditions treated are headache, dizziness and falling to the ground, abdominal pain, fullness, distension and accumulation. If it is painful and the pain moves it can be cured easily; if is is a painless fixed accumulation it is difficult.


    One of the Aggressive Energy Drain points in five element acupuncture, along with Feishu Bl-13, Jueyinshu Bl-14, Xinshu Bl-15, Ganshu Bl-18 and Shenshu Bl-23, indicated where psychological or emotional issues are blocking treatment. They are needled from left to right, top to bottom, with the exception of Xinshu Bl-15 that is needled last, along with controls outside the Bladder channel at the same levels. If aggressive energy is present the points should become redder than the test points and are left until the redness disappears. If not then needles can be removed and treatment continued.


    In Tibetan medicine:
    Moxa point (AMNH, Tibetan Medical Paintings)

    Reference Notes: (click to display)