Bleeding Peripheral Points: An Acupuncture Technique

The Lingshu (Spiritual Pivot) and its companion volume, the Suwen (Simple Questions), written around 100 B.C., established the fundamentals of traditional Chinese medical ideas and acupuncture therapy (3, 4). Originally, there was a set of 9 acupuncture needles, which included the triangular lance, sword-like flat needles, and fairly large needles (see Figure 1). In the Lingshu (3) these ancient needles are numbered and the needle designs and qualities are associated with what the numbers represent. Regarding the fourth needle, which has a tubular body and lance-like tip, the text states: "This can be used to drain fevers, to draw blood, and to exhaust chronic diseases." The seventh needle is described as being hair fine (corresponding in form to the most common of the current needles); it is said to "control fever and chills and painful rheumatism in the luo channels." In modern practice, using the lance as a means to treat chronic diseases has been marginalized (except to treat acute flare-ups of chronic ailments), while the applications of the hair-fine needle has been greatly expanded beyond malarial fevers and muscle and joint pain.