Shang Han Fever – Needling the Yang Ming

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Translated by: Steven Clavey

Needling Yang Ming channel to relieve shang han fever, Xu Shu-Wei‘s Case (number 55)

One year in the month of May, a Mr. Li was ill with shang han (injury by cold), having fever, headache, no sweat and generalised aching all over the body. The pulse was floating, big and tight. I gave him Ma Huang Tang, but after several doses there still was no sweating; again we tried Zhang Miao’s roasting steaming method, and this did not work either. I then ordered acupuncture on Yang Ming, and after a short while perspiration appeared, misting the whole body for a period. By evening he was cool and the illness receded.

Xu’s Discussion:

Chapter 32 of the Su Wen, entitled “Ci Re Lun/Treatise on Needling Heat”, says:

Febrile illness with pain first in the arms, needle Yang Ming and sweating will relieve it.”

It also says:

Needle Yang Ming, letting a drop of blood the size of a large bean, immediate relief”

The Yang Ming point to be needled is that on the inner side of the finger, just under the nail, which is the point from which the Yang Ming channel originates (ie Shang Yang, L.I. 1). Needle to a depth of one fen, and leave for one breath.

In most cases of shang han febrile disease in which there is difficulty raising a sweat, nothing is more marvellous than needles. [Zhang] Zhong-Jing says: “Any treatment of wen/febrile disease cause the 59 points”. The Su Wen says: “In severe cases, employ the 59 needling”. What this means is explained in the annotations [to the Classics].

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  • Beata Booth

    Nice case! One question/comment – I assume that needling ‘under’ the nail means just proximal to the medial corner of the nail, not literally UNDER the nail?

  • Jason Blalack

    Hi Beata,

    Glad you enjoyed the case. Yes I think you are correct…

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