A Hook that Unites Acupuncture with Sasang Medicine 사암으로 사상을 통합하는 고리

△ The hook that unites Saam acupuncture and Sasang together is the five-element order. photoⓒAdobeStock_designua

By David Lee, L.Ac.

Does it exist? Yes! Unification of acupuncture and herbal medicine has been long sought-after. A holy grail is to have one overarching theory to merge acupuncture and herbs. Until now, herbal medicine with organ theory and acupuncture with meridian theory were separately practiced. Finally, the 21st century has a working solution through Sasang Acupuncture, which uses an improved version of Saam four-needle technique and eight constitutions acupuncture.

The hook that unites acupuncture and Sasang together is this: the five-element order on the transporting points of Yin meridians Wood (Jing-well)-Fire-Earth-Metal-Water (He-sea) occurs in 70% population and Metal (Jing-well)-Water-Wood-Fire-Earth (he-sea) in 30% of population. Again, a minority of individuals have an alternate order of Metal at Jing-well, Water at Ying-spring, Wood at Shu-stream, Fire at Jing-river, and Earth at He-sea on the Yin meridians. No ancient texts mentioned that a Yang meridian five-element order can also occur in Yin meridians. But it is clinically verified in 30% of population.

Because constitutional acupuncture is conveniently measurable, predictable, and reproducible, I and my cohorts verified that the five-element transporting points are interchangeable with Jema Lee’s organs!

Here is an example of a Saam four-needle technique for a Soeumin using traditional five-element order. A Soeumin has big Kidney and small Spleen. Let’s transpose Jema Lee’s diagnosis with that of Saam’s as excessive Water and deficient Earth. To tonify Spleen, Saam chose SP2, HT8, SP1, and LR1 to tonify the mother Fire with SP2 and HT8 and to sedate the controller Wood with SP1 and LR1. We need to change the controller to Water from Wood because some Soeumins have constitutionally deficient Wood. Then the new four-needle technique is SP2, HT8, SP9, and KD10. SP2 and HT8 are mother Fire points to tonify the son Earth Spleen. SP9 and KD10 are controlling grandchildren water points to also tonify the Earth Spleen. But even this improved formula applies to 70% of Soeumins, and gives up to a 60% efficacy rate because some individuals have low response to acupuncture regardless of the problem.    

Here is a way to increase the efficacy for the other 30% of Soeumins with a new formula SP5, HT4, SP2, and KD2. For these people, the traditional five-element order of Yin meridians begins with Metal on Jing-well points. This order is ingrained in them since birth and does not change over lifetime. The new five-element assignment on a Spleen meridian is SP1 Metal, SP2 Water, SP3 Wood, SP5 Fire, and SP9 Earth. The same pattern applies to a Heart meridian as HT9 Metal, HT8 Water, HT7 Wood, HT4 Fire, and HT3 Earth. Lastly, a Kidney meridian’s elements are KD1 Metal, KD2 Water, KD3 Wood, KD7 Fire, and KD10 Earth. From this perspective, SP5 (Jing-river) and HT4 (Jing-river) are now Fire points instead of SP2 and HT8. And SP2 (Ying-spring) and KD2 (Ying-spring) are Water points instead of SP9 and KD10.


Spleen Tonification for Soeumin using Saam Acupuncture

70% of Soemins

30% of Soeumins

대도 SP2 (Fire)

상구 SP5 (Fire)

소부 HT8 (Fire)

영도 HT4 (Fire)

음릉천 SP9 (Water)

대도 SP2 (Water)

음곡 KD10 (Water)

연곡 KD2 (Water)


Saam acupuncture is well-known for its quick and lasting relief for pain, inflammation, and dysfunction. Your ability to take control with these alternative set of points will increase patient satisfaction and your pocket. This pattern also works with Taeyangin, Taeeumin, and Soyangin. Not only do you have a constitutional acupuncture but also a way of unifying Saam acupuncture and Sasang herbal medicine. When you observe such significance in your results, you will see how evolutionary and revolutionary Sasang Acupuncture is. We are standing on the shoulders of giants who have led the way towards finally discovering the hook for unification.