Underlying Theories of Acupuncture Treatment (19) Correlational Acupuncture Points (CAP) and Applications of CAPs

△Correlational Acupuncture Points and its application make acupuncture treatment a lot easier and more effective. imageⓒenvato-Wavebreakmedia

By Brandon SJ Oh L.Ac.

  • The similar shape has similar energy (同形同氣), Meridians share the same name have the same energy.

I will discuss correlational Acupuncture Points (CAPs) and how to apply CAPs for acupuncture treatment for this month. Once you understand the meaning and application of CAPs, acupuncture point selection principles could be easily understood.


Applying Fractal Theory to understand acupuncture treatment 

Like Fractal Theory in the Western world, there has been a similar idea that a part of the body can represent the whole person in acupuncture theory. Like a stem cell can be developed in any part of the human body, and it cannot be possible unless the stem cell contains the genetic information of all human body parts.

So, scalp acupuncture, facial acupuncture, auricular acupuncture, reflexology can be explained how it works if you think a small part represents the whole body—inserting acupuncture needles on the part of the body to treat the whole body and using a segment of the body part to diagnose whole human body. This is a philosophical explanation of how it is possible to treat a patient by inserting acupuncture needles in someplace to treat a whole body.

Acupuncture treatment treats a symptom by creating local stimulation or generating reactions in the broader area of the human body. Therefore, proper acupuncture point selection can maximize the treatment effect. And most acupuncture techniques were developed from the idea of small part can serve the whole body.


  CAP and an idea of a similar shape share comparable energy.

Acupuncture theory has been established by researching similarities between the human body and the universe and converting metaphysical intuitions to physical applications. And the theory has proved by its thousand years of clinical data.

For example, a cinnamon tree branch imitates the human body’s hands and feet, and a trunk part of the tree could be seen as a human belly. And based on similarities of the tree and the human body, the branch used to warm hands and feet and cinnamon on the trunk manages coldness on the stomach. This explains the basic idea of herbology that tells us how a practitioner found herb for a particular symptom in the early stage of the medicine.

Observing similarities in the universe and nature and applying it to humans is not limited to finding an herb. It could be applied to acupuncture treatment.

To treat shoulder pain, choose acupuncture points on the knee and reduce pain on the knee, and chose acupuncture points on the shoulder. Not inserting needles where the location of pain is treating the similar shaped body part is the most effective way to expel pathogen and restore healthy Qi on the point of pain. This is an example of a distant treatment technique by applying the idea of similar shape share similar energy and treating a symptom through stimulation of the whole-body to fix the local problem.

Using CAP is another example that has the same root of distant points selection.

If you want to treat symptoms of inflammation, you can select acupuncture points where the inflammation is. If you decided to choose the points near or where the inflammation was placed, that would fix local damage from the heat and swollenness locally. Also, there is the other option for selecting acupuncture points to treat the same symptom, such as selecting distant acupuncture points from the painful location to treat the painful location and the whole body.


  • Applying upper and lower symmetrical meridians that share the same name and hand and foot symmetry

The lung meridian’s full name is the Lung channel of hand tai yin. And the spleen channel is called the spleen channel of foot tai yin. The lung and spleen channels share tai yin. So, the lung and spleen channel share similar energy, such as damp soil or earth.

If a patient complains severe toe pain nearby Sp2 or Sp3 due to gout, the pain could be controlled by inserting needles on Lu10. Because the shapes of thumb and toe are look-alike, and part of the thumb is the lung meridian, and the toe is on the spleen channel, which shares the same energy of damp soil or the earth.

If a patient complains of pain near Bl66, the pain could be controlled using Si2 or Si3 because the Urinary bladder channel of foot tai yang and Small intestine channel of hand tai yang have typical energy such as cold water.

Examples using two principals such as meridian, which has the same channel name – Taiyin, Taiyang, Soyang, Soyin, Yang Ming, and Jue yin have the same energy, and similar shape of body parts contains same energy.

Also, UB65 and SI3 are all Shu points that control dampness and pain on joints generally used to take care of pain due to excessive dampness. As you adopt more theories regarding acupuncture treatment for selecting acupuncture points for specific symptoms, it will make your treatment stronger. As you have powerful acupuncture points for treatment, your treatment result will be increased.