Author: Valley Health Clinic

Which Topical Medicine to Use?

An Interview with Jeremy Cornish about Which Topical Medicines to Us

An interview between Jeremy Cornish and Willard Sheppy: A person-focused method

Welcome to this exclusive interview between Jeremy Cornish and Willard Sheppy. Jeremy is a renowned expert in the treatment of complex chronic conditions using Traditional Chinese Medicine and the founder of Modern Vitality, while Willard is an accomplished acupuncturist and founder of Valley Health Clinic, specializing in sports acupuncture. Both experts have dedicated their careers to helping individuals achieve optimal health and well-being.

In this interview, we will delve into Jeremy’s and Willard’s expertise in the field of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. They will discuss the benefits of alternative medicine, particularly in the use of topical medicine use for injuries. We will also discuss the importance of treating the root cause of illness and focus on appropriateness and clinical clarity in the decision-making process

Quick Links to the Sections Below

Question: Jeremy, What topicals do you use?

One of the major mistakes we can make in the profession is to focus on things (our tools, herbs, protocols, etc) instead of focusing on the person and their problem/goal.

Various topicals make sense in varying situations depending on the person and the problem.

I’ve used premium herbal foot soaks, liniments, “secret” martial art lineage hit formulas…

And I’ve also improvised poultices when out hiking in the middle of nowhere by chewing up herbs like dandelion and plantain and applying the wet paste to the injured area.

In choosing which topicals to use, the primary thing I keep in mind is appropriateness. It has to be the right formulation for the situation. Then quality, which is extremely important. But quality is a second place because even the highest quality can’t make up for being the inappropriate/wrong formula entirely.

Question: Jeremy, How do you decide which product to use?

In deciding how to use one product over another, it really comes down to having a clinical algorithm for decision-making.

Most practitioners collect “heuristics,” which are rules of thumb. “X remedy is good for Y problem” It’s a matching type of thinking.

When we organize all of our heuristics, we can start to create clinical algorithms which are much more comprehensive and robust.

Algorithms use more of an “if, then” type of framework. The treatments live at the ends of a robust decision tree.

Using the diagnostic process of Eastern medicine, we can start to figure out which topicals are most appropriate for any given situation.

Question: Willard, How does a Sports Acupuncturist make a diagnosis to understand which topicals are appropriate?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the principles of balance and harmony, and it focuses on treating the root cause of illness rather than just the symptoms. TCM has a unique approach to diagnosing and treating pain, which is based on the quality of the pain.

In TCM, the quality of the pain is considered an important diagnostic tool. Practitioners ask patients questions about the type and quality of their pain, including how it feels, where it is located, and what makes it better or worse. The answers to these questions help the practitioner to determine the underlying pathology and create an appropriate treatment plan.

Stage One

The initial stage of an injury is usually dominated by heat. The duration of this stage varies from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity and type of injury. The treatment approach involves clearing heat and toxins, dispersing stasis, and relieving pain. The formulas used in the first stage of injury are the coldest formulas and aim to eliminate heat toxins while facilitating the removal of damaged tissue.

Pain that is warm to the touch and maybe inflamed is often associated with heat. Heat is usually accompanied by localized redness, but in some cases, patients may feel a sensation of heat without visible redness. This type of pain may have a burning sensation.

Treatment typically involves clearing the heat with acupuncture, herbs, and other modalities.

The herbal formula known as Evil Bone Water is a well-balanced composition that exhibits both cooling and warming properties. Its versatility makes it suitable for treating acute injuries, as well as for long-term use.

In contrast, San Huang San, also referred to as herbal ice, is a very cooling formula that is recommended for use only during the first week of an injury. It is not advisable to use this formula for an extended period due to its potency.

Stage Two

The second stage of trauma occurs after the initial inflammation subsides, leaving behind blood stagnation and qi stagnation, which presents as congestion of swelling and fluids in the affected area. This congestion leads to stiffness and pain. If the injury was severe or not treated sufficiently during the first stage, swelling may persist.

The second stage of trauma requires a treatment approach similar to the first stage, but with a greater focus on moving blood and dispersing stasis than on clearing heat. Herbs are added to dispel wind and dampness to prevent these pathogenic factors from becoming chronic bi syndrome. Blood stasis is a constant factor in traumatic injuries, resulting from primary vessel damage, extravasation, pressure from swelling, and increased adhesion. The goal of dispersing stasis in the second stage is to alleviate pain and facilitate tissue regeneration in the third stage.

Blood Stagnation
Sharp and stabbing pain that is fixed in location is often associated with blood stagnation. This type of pain is usually worse with pressure and may have a burning or electrical sensation. Treatment typically involves moving the blood and resolving the stagnation with acupuncture, herbs, and other modalities.

Qi Stagnation
Dull, achy pain that is tight or tense and better with movement is often associated with Qi stagnation. This type of pain may also feel better after moving around. Treatment typically involves moving the Qi and resolving the stagnation with acupuncture, herbs, and other modalities.

Both Evil Bone Water and Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame have a rich history and origin in Martial Arts Trauma Liniments, which have been used for centuries to address a wide range of injuries, pain, and discomfort.

These two formulas are highly effective in moving qi and blood,

Evil Bone Water is a well-balanced formula that combines cooling and warming properties, making it highly effective in treating most injuries, while Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame is a warming formula that is ideal for conditions aggravated with cold.

Both Evil Bone Water and Red Empeor’s Immortal Flame have there roots in Martial Arts Trauma Liniments and are good and moving qi and blood.

Cold Stagnation
Sharp and stabbing pain that is fixed in location and worse in cold weather is often associated with cold stagnation. This type of pain may also have a cold sensation or the skin my have a white hue. People with cold stagnation will have a natural avoidance to putting ice on injury or using topicals with a cooling menthol sensation. Treatment typically involves warming the area with acupuncture, herbs, and other modalities.

Red Empeor’s Immortal Flame is a renowned Traditional Chinese Medicine formula that is widely used for its warming properties, which make it ideal for treating Cold Stagnation. Unlike other liniments that may have a cooling effect, Red Empeor’s Immortal Flame is designed to provide warmth to the affected area, making it a great choice for individuals who do not respond well to cooling sensations like mentho

Tibetan herbal foot soaks have been used for centuries to treat a wide range of conditions, including cold injuries. The unique blend of herbs used in the foot soak has a warming effect on the body and helps to improve circulation, which can be especially beneficial for individuals who suffer from cold extremities or injuries caused by exposure to cold temperatures. In addition to its warming properties, the foot soak also has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects that can help to reduce swelling and discomfort. Overall, Tibetan foot soaks are a safe and effective way to promote healing and provide relief for a variety of cold-related injuries and conditions.

Stage Three

At this stage, your body has fibrous deposition (scar tissue) and possible chronic inflammatory reactions. To remodel is to grow by rapid production, and that is exactly what your body is going through during this stage. The visible signs of inflammation will subside, and new tissue forms. This new tissue is fragile, and susceptible to injury.

It is during this phase that people feel like their mind is ready for them to be better, but their body is lagging behind. Oftentimes, remaining bruising, swelling and limited range of motion can bring about a sense of depression.

The fear that tends to arise during this phase of healing can cause you to guard the area even further. You may be scared to move too much, and this anxiety can cause you to lock down and stay still in order to protect yourself. This fragile new tissue, however, is susceptible to more than just injury – it is also susceptible to stagnancy, and restricting movement can form adhesions. These adhesions can limit range of motion when movement is eventually reintroduced, so appropriate mobilization of the tissue during this stage is important.

The benefit of working with your acupuncturist lies in their knowledge of what will and won’t be best for you. Some people close down, and we remind them to get out and move. Some people push themselves too far too fast, and we remind them to slow down and allow themselves to heal. Your greatest benefit lies in getting answers to your questions, and support to get through your fears and anxieties.

Rehabilitative exercises during this stage place increased demands on the tissues and some patients may have difficulty in performing the exercises due to tension in a sinew channel.

The treatment principles of this stage include: strengthening and warming the sinews and bone, tonify gi and nourishing blood, activating qi and blood, dispersing residual swelling, promoting tissue healing and decreasing pain. As always, these formulas must be prescribed for the appropriate CM presentation according to a thorough differential diagnosis.

Blood Deficiency
Dull, achy pain that is weak or stiff and worse with exertion and better with rest is often associated with blood deficiency. Treatment typically involves nourishing the blood with acupuncture, herbs, and other modalities.

Qi Deficiency
Mild, dull, achy pain that is weak and worse with exertion and better with rest is often associated with Qii deficiency. Treatment typically involves tonifying the Qii with acupuncture, herbs, and other modalities.

Corydalis relief stick is an effective and gentle formula that can be used to alleviate pain in patients who are weak or sensitive to stronger pain relief methods. One of the main benefits of using this formula is that it helps to decrease pain in patients who have a deficiency of Qi and Blood. This can be particularly useful for patients who have undergone chemotherapy and are experiencing pain as a result of the treatment. Many patients find that traditional pain relief methods such as Evil Bone Water and Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame can be too strong for their sensitive systems. The Corydalis relief stick provides a milder yet effective alternative, making it a valuable addition to any holistic pain relief regimen. Overall, the Corydalis relief stick has proven to be an invaluable resource for practitioners looking to provide gentle yet effective pain relief for their patients.

Heavy pain is often associated with dampness. This type of pain may also have a sensation of swelling or numbness. Treatment typically involves resolving the dampness with acupuncture, herbs, and other modalities.

Moving, itchy pain is often associated with wind. If blood deficiency persists for a long period of time, it can lead to wind, which can cause pain that travels or moves around.

This type of pain may also be accompanied by tingling or numbness. Paresthesia is often related to the presence of wind in the jing luoTreatment typically involves dispelling the wind with acupuncture, herbs, and other modalities.

Corydalis relief stick is my go-to product for Nerve pain.

Tibetan foot soaks work very well for neuropathies, and also more internal conditions like chronic pain and menstrual problems when combined with other therapies and a comprehensive plan.

Question: Jeremy, What are some other examples of the right topical for the right situation?

When you use the right topicals for the situation, you’ll see the appropriate results.

For example, one obvious distinction is broken skin.

There are some liniments and other topicals that are fantastic to use, but only on unbroken skin.

So if the skin is broken, we really ought to start with something more appropriate.

For example, if it’s broken skin from a cut or scrape Yunnan Pai Yao is fantastic. When there’s bleeding from a wound, I’ve used Yunnan Pai Yao to stop the bleeding swiftly.

If it’s broken skin from a burn, then shiunko, zi cao, or even the old reliable Chung Wang Hun can work wonders . Burns responds extremely well to herbal burn cream. Especially reducing the pain, speeding the wound healing, and minimizing scar damage. This is quite reliable.

We need to be able to triage the situation and figure out the urgency of what’s going on. Is it a first-aid situation?

For example, one of my kids was wearing shorts and brushed up against a bunch of stinging nettles out in a field. His calf was red, painful, and welting up.

A formula like San Huang San makes a great poultice in that situation, however, it was much faster for me to chew up a bunch of fresh dandelion and then smear the poultice and the juice onto his leg for immediate relief right there. Poultices like San Huang San work reliably well for fresh injuries with closed skin like an acute sprain etc, when there’s redness and swelling. Also, anything similarly inflamed, such as mastitis.

If he had been bleeding, I would have chosen plantain.

Tibetan foot soaks work very well for neuropathies, and also more internal conditions like chronic pain and menstrual problems when combined with other therapies and a comprehensive plan. That’s the kind of work I do at Modern Vitality. Complex chronic conditions.

Evil Bone Water is great for sports injuries with closed skin. It has other uses too that are a bit more advanced, including oral and certain broken skin issues.

Yin Care works exceedingly well for yeast infections. There’s another company offering a similar formulation called Kuan Yin Apothecary Yoni Wash which I’m interested in as well.

Martial Arts liniments and other Dit Da formulations are usually pretty good at whatever they’re designed for. For example, some of the very warming liniments can be great for chronic injuries that are worse with cold.

Patients can soak their feet in Ginger tea for general coldness, and pain, and when coming down with a cold.

Most liniments are great for taking the sting out of mosquito bites.


In conclusion, Traditional Chinese Medicine has a unique approach to diagnosing and treating pain based on the quality of the pain. By asking yourself questions about the type and quality of the pain, you can better understand the underlying pathology and pick an appropriate topical and treatment plan for you.

Jeremy Cornish

Jeremy Cornish is a renowned expert in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is the founder of Modern Vitality, an international group that helps people with complex chronic health conditions, and the Damn Good Doctors Club, a community of practitioners with non-linear practice models. Cornish has spent over two decades studying and practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine, and has helped countless individuals achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

Will Sheppy

Willard Sheppy is an accomplished acupuncturist and founder of Valley Health Clinic, a medical facility that provides comprehensive healthcare services to patients in Albany, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience in the field of acupuncture, Willard has established himself as a leading expert in Sports Acupuncture. He is known for his compassionate and personalized approach to patient care, and his dedication to helping his patients achieve optimal health and Sport Performance Goals.

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About the Author
Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
Connect with Willard on LinkedIn at or learn more about his services at Embark on this journey towards holistic health with Willard guiding your way.

Who Created REIF (Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame)

Hugh Turcotte, Create of Red Emperor's Immortal Flame

Hugh M. Turcotte, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M. is a licensed acupuncturist and clinical herbalist who serves as the Clinical Director at Waterfield Wellness, located in Woburn, Massachusetts. With a passion for Chinese Medicine and a dedication to helping others, Hugh has spent years honing his skills and knowledge in the field of natural health and wellness.

As part of his commitment to providing effective and high-quality products for his patients, Hugh is also the producer of Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame Liniment, a topical pain relief product made from a unique combination of high-quality Chinese herbs. With a focus on natural ingredients and an unwavering commitment to quality, this Turcotte Family Formula has helped many individuals find relief from chronic pain and discomfort.

Why did you start making Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame Liniment?

My initial education in health therapies was from my mentor and uncle, Sifu Tom Turcotte DOM, someone who has dedicated the better part of 60 years to discovering first hand the limits of human potential. Spoiler alert- he hasn’t found a limit yet. I was 26 years old, my college football and wrestling days were over, and one day I couldn’t stand up and walk across my bedroom. My ever-wise mom said over the phone, “You better call Tom.” I did, and he sent me to one of his former Tui Na (Chinese Medical Massage) students for a treatment. For the next decade Sifu Turcotte hit me right between the eyes with a boatload of qigong, diet, and herbs. He taught me the importance of keeping a positive mental set in any circumstance and how to manage my own energy system with high reward and low risk.

Eventually I decided to abandon my public accounting career and take the plunge to get a formal education in Chinese Medicine and make this adopted lifestyle a livelihood. As I neared the end of my Masters program, my wife was 6 months pregnant with our first child. My uncle understood I would be both opening a practice and starting a family in the same month. Knowing I had invested all my resources into my Chinese Medicine education and imagining that I would need an additional source of income to support my growing family, he gifted me two external-use family formulas that he originally developed and used in his martial arts training and later adapted for use in his clinic. Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame is one of them. My part was and still is today, to produce it to the exacting standards of a kung fu grandmaster and to help as many people on the planet with it as I can.

I always say I’ll keep making it as long as it keeps helping people. With any product that you put on or in your body, trust is a big part of the decision to use it. Through my informal training with my uncle, I became uncompromising with what goes in and on my body. From Sodium Laureth Sulfate in hair products to the ungodly excitotoxins in our food supply to off-gassing formaldehydes in carpet glue, I awakened to the fact that grocery stores and department stores are mine fields of chemicals which in the doses intended by manufacturers, are unfit for human contact. So when it came to putting my own product out into the public sphere, I envisioned a domestically-produced world-class topical pain product made with unreasonable patience, care, and high quality ingredients, and an inspiring story behind it.

The REIF mission is not only focused on the end user, but on practitioners and business owners. “A rising tide raises all ships.” Manufacturing a unique topical product that offers unmatched value and making it available through my colleagues’ clinics and businesses (as opposed to a simple centralized website or selling on Amazon) fulfills my mission of maximizing the impact of REIF on the vitality of my profession across the country.

What makes Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame Liniment stand out from other products like Zheng Gu Shui?

Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame shines brightest when addressing chronic pain due to blood stasis with cold underneath. No other product addresses this particular combination with equal effect. Does it address pain from Wind-Cold-Damp exposure? Yes. Does is address pain from acute overuse with microinjuries to joints and soft tissue? Yes. Will it help in cases of traumatic injury to soft tissue? Yes. The therapeutic target is big. There are any number of applications, but the bullseye is where REIF becomes an absolutely indispensable tool in the toolbox of self care- lifting out stuck cold from deep tissue while simultaneously promoting local circulation, reducing inflammatory processes and stopping pain.

What specific results have you seen since using Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame Liniment?

When Tom initially passed the formula down to me, I’ll be honest- although his character, training, lineage, and accomplishments speak for themselves (, and he is my father’s brother, I still needed to prove to myself that this formula was unique in its class. First I innovated and spent 3 months developing a salve version of this product, then I began using both versions in my own clinic. Here are some results for which I have testimonials:

An 85 year old woman with OA who doesn’t know how she will be able to get off her couch to entertain company this weekend? Pain went from 8/10 to 1/10 and stayed there for 4 days with a single application of REIF. She seemed like a very nice lady, but I was new at this and wasn’t sure if I believed her. I think she was honest because she demanded that I sell her “a bottle of that stuff”.

What makes this products stand out?

Every ingredient in REIF is certified organic. While I only list three of the ingredients on the label, all three that are listed are listed as organic and I will freely show my certs to anyone who asks. I go the extra mile for the cleanest, purest, most natural and unadulterated ingredients because that’s how I was taught to make it and because it’s the right thing to do. I’m not going to ask someone to put something on their body (and which ends up in their body) unless I can unequivocally say it is safe. I don’t want my name or my uncle’s name associated with anything but the highest quality. Ultimately we want the Turcotte family name, if it means anything to anybody, to be synonymous with a world-class product made with heart-centered service and uncompromising attention to detail.

REIF provides a near-instant proof of concept. Patients will feel it work within minutes. The warming sensation begins after 3 minutes. At 25 minutes, the circulation-promoting effect kicks in. That’s when the good stuff happens. I can’t use the word “healing” due to FDA label requirements, but patients can and have.

Because of its potency, REIF is in fact very economical. A very small amount goes a long way. In one 30ml bottle of liniment, there are over 500 drops. At a liberal dosage of 6-8 drops per application, that’s between 60 and 80+ applications from a single bottle. If someone has chronic pain in their knee, hip, neck, back, etc., and they apply REIF daily for two months, that tissue will be changed. Cumulative benefit over time (not just symptom relief) has been reported consistently by users. Because of the local circulation-promoting effect, consistent use on affected joints and muscle actually changes the tissue.

About Dr. Tom Turcotte DOM, the Originator of Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame

Red Emperor’s Immortal Flame is a Turcotte Family Formula that was developed by Sifu Dr. Tom Turcotte DOM out of necessity to help him continue training Kung Fu at a very high level, day after day, decade after decade. He later adapted it for clinical use in his Chinese Medicine practice before passing the formula on to Hugh M. Turcotte, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M. of Waterfield Wellness.

Tom Turcotte is a doctor of Oriental medicine, acupuncturist, and herbalist with over 50 years of experience in the field of natural health and wellness. Tom’s has receieved an Acupuncture Degree from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Certificate in Orthopedics and Traumatology from Longhua Hospital in Shanghai. He has dedicated his life to exploring the limits of human potential and helping others achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

Tom’s journey in natural health and wellness began in the early 1970s, when he began studying martial arts and meditation. This led him to explore the principles of Chinese Medicine, which he has spent decades studying and refining. Tom’s teachings and insights have helped countless individuals achieve better health and vitality.

In addition to his work as a practitioner, Tom is also an accomplished teacher. He has published numerous books and articles on Chinese Medicine and martial arts, and he has taught seminars and workshops throughout the United States and around the world. Tom (along with his teacher Dr. Yong Shou Dong) co-produced the very first English language instructional Tui Na video designed for professional bodyworkers and Acupuncturists. Learn more at His website,, serves as a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning more about Chinese Medicine, martial arts, and natural health and wellness.

Whether you’re seeking relief from chronic pain, looking to improve your athletic performance, or simply want to achieve better health and wellbeing, Tom Turcotte’s decades of experience and expertise can help guide you on your journey. Visit to learn more and discover the transformative power of Chinese Medicine.

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About the Author
Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
Connect with Willard on LinkedIn at or learn more about his services at Embark on this journey towards holistic health with Willard guiding your way.

Tension Headaches: A Comprehensive Guide

Evil Bone Water for Tension Headaches: A Comprehensive Guide


Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches, affecting millions of people worldwide. They can be debilitating, affecting an individual’s quality of life and daily activities. This blog post will explore the benefits of using Evil Bone Water for tension headaches, and we’ll also discuss insights from an interview with Zachary Krebs, an Acupuncture graduate and Chinese internal arts enthusiast. We’ll dive into the causes of tension headaches, symptoms, and other alternative treatments that can be used to alleviate this condition.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache experienced by adults, affecting up to 80% of the population at some point in their lives (1). Characterized by a dull, aching pain that is often described as a tight band around the head or pressure at the temples or back of the head and neck, tension headaches can be triggered by various factors, including stress, poor posture, and eye strain (2).

There are two primary types of tension headaches: episodic and chronic. Episodic tension headaches occur less frequently, with fewer than 15 headache days per month, while chronic tension headaches occur more frequently, with 15 or more headache days per month (3). Although the exact cause of tension headaches is not fully understood, experts believe that a combination of muscle tension, nerve sensitivity, and changes in brain chemicals may contribute to the development of these headaches (4).

Treatment for tension headaches typically includes over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin, as well as prescription medications for more severe cases (5). However, many people are turning to alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage, and herbal remedies, such as Evil Bone Water, to find relief from tension headache pain (6).

Part 1: Understanding Tension Headaches

Causes of Tension Headaches

Tension headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, poor posture, eye strain, and dehydration. In many cases, tension headaches are the result of tight muscles in the neck, shoulders, and scalp. This muscle tension can be caused by physical strain, such as maintaining a poor posture or working for long periods in front of a computer screen, or emotional stress and anxiety.

Symptoms of Tension Headaches

Common symptoms of tension headaches include:

  • A dull, aching pain in the head, often described as a tight band around the forehead
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Tightness or pressure in the neck, shoulders, and scalp
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

These symptoms can vary in severity and duration, and individuals may experience tension headaches occasionally or more frequently. In some cases, tension headaches can become chronic, occurring more than 15 days per month for at least three months.

Part 2: Evil Bone Water for Tension Headaches

What is Evil Bone Water?

Evil Bone Water is a traditional Chinese medicine topical remedy that has been used for centuries to treat various types of pain, including tension headaches. It is made from a blend of natural herbs and ingredients known for their analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and blood circulation-enhancing properties. Some of the key ingredients in Evil Bone Water include:

  • Sanguisorba officinalis (Di Yu)
  • Cirsium japonicum (Da Ji)
  • Angelica sinensis (Dang Gui)
  • Carthamus tinctorius (Hong Hua)
  • Panax notoginseng (San Qi)

Click here to learn more about ingredients and benefits of Evil Bone Water.

How Does Evil Bone Water Work for Tension Headaches?

The natural ingredients in Evil Bone Water work together to provide relief from tension headaches by:

  • Reducing inflammation and muscle tension in the neck, shoulders, and scalp
  • Improving blood circulation, which can help to alleviate pain and promote healing
  • Providing a cooling sensation that can help to distract the brain from the pain signals, providing temporary relief from headache symptoms

How to Use Evil Bone Water for Tension Headaches

To use Evil Bone Water for tension headaches, simply apply a small amount of the liquid to the affected area and massage it gently into the skin. It is important to avoid contact with the eyes and other sensitive areas, and to wash your hands thoroughly after application. For best results, combine Evil Bone Water with other tension headache treatments, such as acupuncture or massage therapy.

Part 3: Insights from Zachary Krebs on Topicals for Pain Relief

In an interview Valley Health Clinic recently conducted with Zachary Krebs, we gained valuable insights into his perspective on topical remedies for pain relief, including his experience using Evil Bone Water for tension headaches.

Zachary Krebs is an avid health science promoter with a graduate degree in Acupuncture and bachelor’s degree in Health Science. He has spent the last 15 years studying Chinese internal arts and is dedicated to translating the best of the best from traditional health traditions into public discourse on preventive health. Some key takeaways from his interview include:

Importance of Quality Ingredients and Sourcing

Zachary emphasizes the importance of using high-quality ingredients in topical remedies, as well as the importance of sourcing these ingredients responsibly. He compares the difference in quality between products like Evil Bone Water and over-the-counter alternatives like Bio Freeze, noting that traditional Chinese medicine formulations often use more potent and effective ingredients, which can provide better results for tension headache relief.

Combining Topicals with Other Treatments

Zachary also highlights the importance of combining topical remedies like Evil Bone Water with other tension headache treatments. For example, acupuncture and massage therapy can work synergistically with topicals to provide more comprehensive and effective pain relief. Additionally, Zachary emphasizes the importance of addressing the root causes of tension headaches, such as stress and poor posture, to achieve long-lasting relief.

Part 4: Other Alternative Treatments for Tension Headaches

In addition to using Evil Bone Water for tension headaches, there are several other alternative treatments that can help alleviate pain and discomfort. Some of these include:


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to help balance the flow of energy or “qi” in the body, which can, in turn, help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. Many individuals find relief from tension headaches through regular acupuncture treatments. A study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that acupuncture could be an effective treatment for tension-type headaches (Linde et al., 2009). You can read more about this study at

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can help relax tight muscles, improve blood circulation, and release tension in the neck, shoulders, and scalp, which can provide relief from tension headaches. Regular massage therapy sessions can also help prevent tension headaches from occurring as frequently. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that massage therapy could effectively reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of tension headaches (Quinn et al., 2002). You can read more about this study at


Essential oils like lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus have been shown to provide relief from headache pain when inhaled or applied topically (diluted with a carrier oil). These oils can be used in a diffuser or added to a warm bath to help alleviate tension headache symptoms. A review published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology found that essential oils, particularly lavender, could be effective in the management of headache disorders, including tension headaches (Sasannejad et al., 2012). You can read more about this review at Frontiers in Neurology (

Stress Management Techniques

Since stress is a common cause of tension headaches, learning effective stress management techniques can be helpful in reducing the frequency and severity of headaches. Practices like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help to lower stress levels and promote relaxation. A study published in the journal Headache found that a mindfulness-based stress reduction program could lead to a significant reduction in headache frequency and severity (Wells et al., 2014). You can read more about this study at

By addressing the root causes of tension headaches and incorporating a holistic approach to treatment, it’s possible to improve overall well-being and reduce the frequency of tension headaches.


Tension headaches can be a painful and disruptive condition for many individuals. Utilizing Evil Bone Water for tension headaches, as well as incorporating other alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy, and stress management techniques, can help provide effective relief from headache pain. By addressing the root causes of tension headaches and incorporating a holistic approach to treatment, it’s possible to improve overall well-being and reduce the frequency of tension headaches.


(1) Steiner, T. J., Stovner, L. J., & Katsarava, Z. (2016). The impact of headache in Europe: principal results of the Eurolight project. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 17(1), 31.

(2) Bendtsen, L., & Jensen, R. (2018). Tension-type headache. In Handbook of Clinical Neurology (Vol. 160, pp. 379-390). Elsevier.

(3) International Headache Society. (2018). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition. Cephalalgia, 38(1), 1-211.

(4) Ashina, S., & Ashina, M. (2018). Pathophysiology of tension-type headache. In Handbook of Clinical Neurology (Vol. 160, pp. 291-300). Elsevier.

(5) Jensen, R., & Bendtsen, L. (2018). Management of tension-type headache. In Handbook of Clinical Neurology (Vol. 160, pp. 391-400). Elsevier.

(6) Linde, K., Allais, G., Brinkhaus, B., Fei, Y., Mehring, M., Vertosick, E. A., … & White, A. R. (2016). Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2016(4), CD007587.

Buy Evil Bone Water Today!

Evil Bone Water (Zheng Gu Shui) is a Chinese topical medicinal hand-crafted with only empirical grade herbal ingredients in an approved facility.

We make available natural products that have been observed to make a difference in the lives of our patients, friends and family. You’re in good hands shopping with us.

About the Author
Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
Connect with Willard on LinkedIn at or learn more about his services at Embark on this journey towards holistic health with Willard guiding your way.

Corydalis: A Revolution in Holistic Pain Relief

Corydalis Relief Salve is a traditional Chinese medicinal treatment for topical pain relief. It works to manage all types of pain, including chronic conditions, neuropathic symptoms, inflammation, and circulation.

Corydalis Relief Salve is a traditional Chinese medicinal treatment for topical pain relief. It works to manage all types of pain, including chronic conditions, neuropathic symptoms, inflammation, and circulation.

Quick Links to the Sections Below

What is Corydalis?

Corydalis (traditional name: Yan Hu Suo) is a natural remedy for pain relief. It is a member of the Poppy (Papaveraceae) family of plants. Corydalis interacts with opiate and dopamine receptor sites to reduce pain. Unlike prescription pain medication, Corydalis is non-addictive, has no adverse side effects for topical use, and users will not test positive for opiate use.

We have cultivated a premium formulation of Corydalis to support pain relief, tissue recovery, and inflammation reduction. Corydalis Salve Relief has a soft floral scent that is not overwhelming like other topical ointments. Complementary herbs have been combined and added to provide a synergistic formula that may support your pain management needs.

How Does Corydalis Work?

Corydalis interacts with pain receptors to safely and naturally provide relief. It directly affects the central nervous system to treat chronic pain, inflammation, and poor circulation. Corydalis calms overactive and painful nerves. As a result, Corydalis Salve Relief is ideal for managing neuropathic pain.

Benefits of Using Corydalis

Our salve provides all of Corydalis’ benefits, including the following:

  • 2-8 hours of soothing pain relief
  • Pain management treatment of chronic pain conditions, including arthritis and neuropathy
  • Non-addictive, safe, and all-natural formula
  • A calming floral scent that isn’t overwhelming
  • It targets the same pain receptors as prescription pain pills without the risks and harmful side effects
  • Formulas do not contain THC or CBD
  • Safe for use by people who need pain relief at work and are required to pass drug tests

Who Should Use Corydalis Pain Relief?

Corydalis in topical form is effective for all types of pain relief. The combined botanical compounds may provide a pain relief solution for those struggling with addiction, chronic pain, or acute discomfort. Unlike prescription medications or other supplements that include THC in their formulations, Corydalis contains no addictive ingredients. The gentle formula composition and soothing scent are agreeable to most adults and children. Corydalis supplements work for all types of pain relief. It calms nerves, reduces inflammation, and improves circulation, making Corydalis perfect for pain management. However, the unique formulation relieves pain commonly experienced by cancer patients, diabetics, and the elderly. In addition, the gentle formula composition and soothing scent are agreeable to most people.

As a non-addictive sustenance, Corydalis is a great pain relief solution for those struggling with addiction. Unlike prescription medications or other supplements that include THC in their formulations, Corydalis contains no addictive ingredients.

The Pain Relief Power Combo: Corydalis Salve and Evil Bone Water

Take advantage of the synergistic effect of our two bestselling topical ointments for ultimate pain relief. Corydalis Relief Salve and Evil Bone Water are like the Yin and Yang of pain relief. Each topical works in separate yet complementary ways in managing pain. First, apply Evil Bone Water for fast and powerful pain relief. It will immediately soothe symptoms. Then, apply Corydalis Relief Salve for a longer-lasting, soothing effect.

Choose Corydalis Relief Salve and Evil Bone Water to eradicate any physical discomforts.

Evil Bone Water Benefits

  • Opens up pores for quick absorption
  • Intense stimulation with natural menthol and camphor
  • Natural pain-relieving compounds move blood faster, speeds healing, and decreases inflammation
  • Alcohol base

Corydalis Relief Salve Benefits

  • Soothes skin for prolonged absorption
  • Gentle stimulation with Corydalis, lavender, frankincense, and myrrh
  • Natural pain-relieving compounds activate dopamine and opiate receptors to decrease pain.
  • Coconut oil, Shea Butter and Beeswax base

Discovering Corydalis

I work with many patients in my clinic who need topical pain relief but can’t tolerate regular over-the-counter treatments like Icy Hot. The chilly feeling of typical ointments is uncomfortable for people with poor circulation. In addition, most have a potent smell that can be overpowering.

One of my dear friends underwent cancer treatment and struggled with pain in her hands and feet from chemotherapy. Her circulation was poor, causing coldness in her extremities. Like many patients, she couldn’t tolerate traditional pain relief ointments. The smell sickened her, and the icy feeling was too much for her cold feet.

This woman was kind and gentle. But unfortunately, she had already suffered so much from exhaustive cancer treatments, and I wanted to find a solution that eased her pain. And so I began my search for the perfect topical: gentle enough for sensitive users but powerful enough to treat neuropathy and arthritis.

I discovered Corydalis Relief Salve. It has a soft floral scent with no cooling effect. Most importantly, it provides soothing relief for all types of pain. Corydalis Relief Salve worked wonders for my dear friend. As a result, I brought this powerful formula to my practice to share with the rest of my patients.

The History of Corydalis in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Corydalis is a perennial herb native to most Asian countries. The first reported uses of a Corydalis painkiller date back to 618 AD and has been used for over 1,100 years as an analgesic agent in traditional Chinese medicine. Corydalis was initially prescribed to treat various forms of stasis, poor blood circulation, and pain relief.

Now, combinations of Corydalis herbs are given to patients struggling with chest, abdominal, and menstrual pain. It is also recommended to treat inflammation, depression, bacterial infections, and more. Corydalis Relief Salve is a staple ointment in traditional Chinese medicine and continues to provide pain relief to millions worldwide.

Doctors Recommend Corydalis for Topical Pain Relief

I sat down with Eliz Britton, DTCM, the CEO of Botanical EZ, LLC, to learn about her experience with Corydalis Relief Salve and why she considers it an essential traditional Chinese medicinal treatment.

Why did you start making Corydalis Relief Salve?

I started making Corydalis to help manage my pain and discomfort more naturally. When I was 16, I experienced a sports injury requiring back surgery two years later. At that time, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and early-onset arthritis. I was on a long list of narcotics and pain medications to help me get through the day, and I didn’t like how I functioned on them. My body can no longer tolerate ibuprofen due to the large dosages I was prescribed as a teenager, so I was left with seeking some sort of medical intervention every time I had an issue with my injury. Decades later, I still found this massive gap in my pain management regimen. I began playing with Corydalis in 2018 to see if I could create an intermediate relief option to add to my self-care routine.

Why weren’t other topical pain relief products working for you?

The side effects. Not just the obvious ones like disorientation, nausea, and drowsiness, but the limitations of how often I could use them and how they smelled. Many prescribed and OTC drugs used to manage inflammation and pain also wreak havoc on your physical organs over time. I am unwilling to accept that my physical body needs to be jeopardized to manage my pain and discomfort successfully. The majority of topical products that are available for anti-inflammatory actions or pain relief smell terrible! I smelled like a cheap camphor factory trying to run errands. People knew I was in some kind of pain because they could just smell me, and that affected my social life negatively.

What specific results have you seen since using Corydalis Relief Salve?

The biggest results I have personally experienced are a reduction in nerve and joint pain, inflammation reduction, faster recovery from exercise and physical therapy sessions, the ability to perform everyday errands with less discomfort, and easing menstrual pain. In addition, I can do more activities with less pain and recover faster from musculoskeletal issues. Experiencing these results has increased the way I enjoy my life. Other Clinicians have reported using this product for various manifestations and injuries that involve the nervous system, joint issues, and acute or chronic musculoskeletal concerns.

How does a Cordydalis supplement work?

Corydalis (aka Yan Hu Sou) contains high concentrations of alkaloids (mainly Dehydrocorydaline) and berberine. Dehydrochorydaline attaches to Dopamine and Opiate receptors to inhibit pain and relieve pain without creating an addiction. It does this by avoiding Dopamine receptors 2 and 4 (responsible for cravings) and instead stimulates and attaches to Dopamine receptors 1,3, and 5. Receptors 1,3, and 5 allow you to experience relief but are also the shutoff buttons for craving and wanting more Corydalis. The high concentrations of berberine support reducing inflammation in various tissues. The other plants and oils in the Relief Salve also contain compounds that help support the two main functions of Corydalis. The most notable helper in the formula is Copaiba which stimulates Cannabinoid (CBD) receptors in the same way as hemp.

Can you name 2-3 things that make your products stand out?

Contains no CBD, THC camphor or menthol. It has a pleasing light floral

How has it affected your life?

For starters, I have shifted my career from practicing in a clinic to brewing plants and procuring high-quality ingredients! As a result, I can function better as a mom, a wife, and a human because I can manage my pain easily. Saving money on Doctor’s office copays and prescriptions have also been a huge bonus. I am grateful to be able to make an impact in this area of health and wellness, and I see myself continuing to make this product for the rest of my life.

What type of person or patient would you recommend Corydalis Relief Salve to, and why?

I recommend this product to anyone old or young because pain management looks different for everyone. If you are looking for a natural option for relief, this product provides a first line of support or can easily be integrated into an existing healthcare plan.

If you have a history of addiction or are concerned about becoming addicted to prescription medications, this product would be a good fit and worth trying.

Individuals who need pain relief on the job or get subjected to drug screenings could also safely use this product. Four years ago, I ingested Corydalis and covered myself in salve; then had a urinalysis and labs drawn to see if I tested positive for opiates or any other drugs. All tests came back clear. If you can not afford to continue investing in CBD products or find that they do not work for you, the plant combinations in our salve may give you a different experience for relief.

Buy Corydalis Relief Salve Today!

If you don’t like strong medicinal smells or menthol and camphor cooling sensations, then this is the product for you. I have found this product to work exceptionally well for diabetics or cancer-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Combine the synergistic effect of our two best-selling topicals. They work together in separate but complementary ways to quickly eliminate your pain. These two products are the Yin and Yang of pain relief!

About the Author
Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
Connect with Willard on LinkedIn at or learn more about his services at Embark on this journey towards holistic health with Willard guiding your way.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Method

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Method

 Plantar fasciitis is a common ailment that can significantly impact your daily life. The good news is that effective plantar fasciitis treatment options are available to help alleviate the pain and get you back on your feet. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various treatments and techniques, from conservative approaches to advanced therapies, to provide you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions on managing and treating plantar fasciitis effectively. Say goodbye to foot pain and regain your mobility – read on to discover the best plantar fasciitis treatment options that can bring you relief.

Plantar fasciitis (PLAN’-tar Fashee-EYE’-tis) is a medical condition characterized by moderate to severe heel pain stemming from when the plantar fascia (FA’-shee-uh) becomes inflamed, usually by trauma or overuse. The plantar fascia is a tough band of connective tissue on the bottom of your foot that runs from your heel to the base of your toes at the ball of your foot.


Commonly experienced first in the morning or after a period of rest, this heel pain can mimic the pain of stepping on a piece of glass or can feel as if the heel itself is bruised. If the patient has been off of her or his feet for at least 30 to 60 minutes, for example, while watching television or having a meal, the patient will often hobble for the first several steps due to the pain before being able to put any weight on the heel.


The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is a sudden increase in use, like walking or running. However, sometimes the cause of the specific trauma may go unnoticed until symptoms worsen.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Method

There are two common approaches to treating plantar fasciitis — (1) Stretching and (2) Resting.

The Stretching Method

If the tissue is loose enough, it will not get inflamed when being used. Here are a few ways to administer the stretch:

Plantar Fasciitis Stretches
  • Stretch the calf with the knee straight to isolate the gastroc.
  • Stretch the calf with the knee bent to isolate the soleus
Plantar Fasciitis Stretches
  • Stretch the calf using a stair or edge on the bottom of the foot to isolate the plantar fascia.
  • Splint the foot in a flexed position at night by untucking the sheets of the bed so the foot can rest in a more neutral position.
  • Roll the bottom of the foot with a tennis ball or frozen water bottle.

The Resting Method

When rested for an extended period of time, the inflammation has the opportunity to subside. Consider:

  • Decreasing activity of being on feet
  • Wearing soft and cushy shoes
  • Using crutches or wearing an orthopedic boot.

If you have tried both of these methods and have found that you are not healing as fast as you would like, I would suggest trying a third method that I have found works very well.

The Pressing Method

Below is an excerpt from the founder of this technique, Harry Oxenhandler:

One day, after having walked quite a long distance, I noticed pain in my heel. I had no recollection of having injured my heel other than the walk itself. The pain persisted, and I noticed that I was hobbling after having been seated for a while or after having gotten out of bed. I finally realized that I had plantar fasciitis and that it had probably been caused by one of the soft spikes on the bottom of my athletic shoe. After several days of rest and stretching with no positive results, I became very frustrated. I sat down on a chair and crossed my ankle on my opposite knee and turned the sole of my foot towards my face, and began to probe the bottom of my sore heel to see if I could find the most tender spot. Once I located the most tender spot, I marked it with a ballpoint pen and then took the rounded, blunt end of the pen and began to apply deep pressure to that very specific spot.

Needless to say, it was very tender, but I have to tell you that it was a “good hurt,” if you know what I mean. It felt as if I were, somehow, getting to the root of the problem. I switched to using my thumb because it gave me more leverage and continued to push on the most tender spot until I felt the tip of my thumb actually touching the heel bone itself. Of course, I had not penetrated the skin. I had merely pushed the underlying tissues out of the way by applying steady, deep pressure for about 5 minutes until it felt as if my thumb tip were touching my heel bone. At that point, I stopped.

The next day, my heel was sore. After a couple of days, however, the heel felt better. The symptoms of pain and hobbling around were still there, but it was not nearly so severe. I repeated the above treatment about every three days for a total of six times. The heel pain disappeared and has never returned since.

I decided to offer this treatment option to those of my patients with plantar fasciitis that had suffered from the problem for a long time, that had tried many of the treatment modalities available and that were willing to give it a try. Many of my patients were more than willing because plantar fasciitis can be very disabling. I would ask the patient to lie face down on the examining table, and I would bend the knee to 90°. Then I would carefully poke around with my thumb until I found the most tender spot on the heel. I then explained to the patient that when I applied gradual but deep pressure, that s(he) was going to feel some tenderness and to tell me if s(he) wanted me to stop at any time. I am being completely honest with you when I say that no one had ever asked me to stop until I had finished (about 5 min).”

– Excerpt from MEDICAL PEARLS of WISDOM: 4 Secret Cures from a Pain Specialist

As shown in the example from the founder of this method, the simple yet profound impact of slow, steady, and deep pressure cannot be understated. Different tissues in the body have different tissue densities. The denser the tissue, the slower it responds to pressure.

A few examples of this phenomenon can be shown through foods. For example, when you are spreading butter, warm butter is less dense and spreads easier than cold. Another example is jelly vs. peanut butter. Jelly spreads easier than peanut butter because it is less dense. If you have ever tried to spread peanut butter on bread too quickly, it will tear the bread. You need to apply slow and steady pressure to avoid tearing.

Like jelly and peanut butter, muscles are less dense than ligaments and tendons. And as we go deeper, ligaments and tendons are less dense than bone.

Therefore, it’s important to note that muscles respond quickly to external pressure. Bones, on the other hand, respond more slowly. This is why extended periods of muscle tension can cause pain and aggravation in the tendons, like tennis elbow. Extended periods of tendon tension will create aggravation in the bone, like bone spurs. With plantar fasciitis, there is some level of muscle tension and tendon tension and, in severe cases, possible bone inflammation. To treat this inflammation, we need to apply the appropriate amount of pressure to stimulate the appropriate tissue.

Typically done with plantar fasciitis, applying heat for 10 minutes, foam rolling, and a quick massage will relax the muscles, however, it will not have an impact on the plantar fascia.

I have found that instead, soaking the foot for 20-30 min and applying slow, steady pressure will have a greater effect on relaxing the deeper and denser plantar facia.

The key to successful treatment was to make sure that I applied deep and steady pressure until I felt as if the tip of my thumb had gradually pushed away the fat and fascia layers beneath the skin of the heel and had actually touched the heel bone. The heel can have quite a thick layer of fat and fascia between the skin of the heel and the heel bone, so it can take considerable pressure to separate those tissues and reach the heel bone.

Tips & Tricks

I would recommend this method for treatment with your patients:

  • Foot soak for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Topical Liniment Rub to the area
  • Apply Knobble with slow and steady pressure

Foot Soak
I have found that longer exposure to heat, like a foot soak, is better and more relaxing to the deeper tissue of the feet than a topical healing pad. The heat helps the tissue move and spread apart so you can reach the deeper plantar fascial layer more quickly. Botanical Biohacking Foot Soaks are by far the best I have found.

Topical Liniments
I have also found that applying topical liniments can help the foot feel better and recover quicker from the deep pressure. For Plantar Fasciitis, Evil Bone Water is the best. It penetrates deeply into the tissue and bones, stimulating fresh blood flow to the area to supercharge the healing process.

Unlike oral pain medications, EBW gets to work on pain immediately. You don’t have to wait for the ingredients to go through your stomach and digestive system, degrading along the way and depositing harmful compounds into your blood and vital organs. Simply apply EBW to the affected area, and the patient will instantly feel warm relief.

The Knobble

Buy Evil Bone Water Today!

Evil Bone Water (Zheng Gu Shui) is a Chinese topical medicinal hand-crafted with only empirical grade herbal ingredients in an approved facility.

We make available natural products that have been observed to make a difference in the lives of our patients, friends and family. You’re in good hands shopping with us.

About the Author
Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
Connect with Willard on LinkedIn at or learn more about his services at Embark on this journey towards holistic health with Willard guiding your way.

Why is it Called Evil Bone Water?

Why is it called Evil Bone Water?

The Bone Setting Liquid

Evil Bone Water is a powerful, topical Chinese herbal liniment formally called Zheng XIE Gu Shui. Literally translated, Zheng Gu Shui means “bone-setting liquid.” Its name proved challenging for Westerners to recall. Eventually, the liniment was coined “Evil Bone Water” by herbalists and this quirky nickname stuck!

Its benefits are explained in its traditional name:

  • Zheng – “to rectify”
  • Gu – “bone”
  • Shi – “water”
  • XIE – “something that must be corrected or come out of the body.”
  • Zheng gu – “bone-setting”

Today, it is used to treat pain and trauma from muscle, bone, and joint injuries. It is popular in martial arts and sports medicine for treating strains, bruises, sprains, and breaks. Evil Bone Water is also beneficial in treating arthritis and carpal tunnel.

How did Evil Bone Water get its name?

The name became common when its creator, Mark T. Brinson, DOM, Ap, was still in school. He had 18 amazing double doctors from China as instructors. They all used Zheng Xie Gu Shu (ZGS) liberally in the student clinic. When asked what ZGS translated to, several of the Master Herbalists would chuckle and say, “Evil Bone Water.”

As Mark learned Medical Chinese, he realized this was far from a literal translation. The true translation is “Rectify or Correct Bone Water.” Now in his practice, Mark often tells this story to patients prescribed Evil Bone Water.

When Herbalists decided to make ZGS using traditional Chinese Medicine methods, the legacy herbs were reintroduced into the formula. Now, Evil Bone Water aka Zheng Xie Gu Shui or “Rectify Evil Bone Water,” contains only the highest-grade herbs available.

Buy It Today!

Evil Bone Water (Zheng Gu Shui) is a Chinese topical medicinal hand-crafted with only empirical grade herbal ingredients in an approved facility.

We make available natural products that have been observed to make a difference in the lives of our patients, friends and family. You’re in good hands shopping with us.

About the Author
Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
Connect with Willard on LinkedIn at or learn more about his services at Embark on this journey towards holistic health with Willard guiding your way.

Shu Point Booklet

Shu Point Booklet

Back Shu Point Theory – Fast Facts

  • The Shu points are often used diagnostically.
  • Testing the Shu points allows you to get a sense of a patient’s response as it happens.
  • There’s no specific needling technique—it’s about testing to figure out which technique works best in each situation.
  • Shu Point diagnosis can impact your physical treatment/needling, as well as herbal treatments, but should mostly inform physical treatment.

Back Shu Points in Practice

  • Affected Shu points can change throughout the day.
    • Often, Shu point diagnosis can resemble “chronotherapy” because the time of day matters.
    • The same point may be affected on multiple patients at the same time of day.
  • Back Shu points tend to be (but aren’t always) paired.
    • Occasionally a paired meridian, or you could have bleed-through to other points.
    • Not always on the same channel.
  • Back Shu points are easier to access while the patient is lying supine (face-up).
    • You can get a more neutral reaction from the areas that aren’t involved.
    • You get feedback from a patient’s face that lets you know how the treatment is going.
  • The ANGLE of needling matters.
    • A point will sometimes respond a little, then respond more as you change the direction of your needle angle.
    • A point will sometimes not respond unless it is angled correctly.
  • Testing the Shu points can help balance and relax the patient.
    • Testing Shu points early in the appointment can promote better treatment later on.
  • Think of having a conversation with each Shu point you’re testing. “Ask” the point, “How is this?” by your palpation and listen to its response.

What if you find multiple tight spots when you scan the Shu points?

  • Combine what you feel with what the patient feels, but rely mostly one what YOU feel. Many people don’t live inside their bodies enough to realize they have tight points in multiple places.
  • Often multiple points are related. Look for pairings and anglings that address both.
  • The number of points you treat during a session depends on the individual—whether they’re new or experienced, etc.
  • Take note of which areas were tight, and which points were affective, for reference at the next appointment.

Watching Your Patient
In the supine position, you can check in with your patient more easily. Things to check include verbal cues, as well as their color and expression.


  • Yellow – A slight yellow tinge is a good sign.
  • Pink or red – Time to check in.
  • Green or pale – Time to slow down!


  • Facial expression or musculature seems to melt – patient is relaxed and will likely respond better to further treatments.
  • Tightening up – Time to check in or slow down.
Shi Acupuncture Points

Treatment Flow Using the Shu Points

Check in with your patient if they’re new: what’s their experience with acupuncture? How do they feel about needles?

General Flow of Treatment:

  • Assess the patient’s concerns—is it more musculoskeletal or more internal medical? Ask related questions based on their condition to gain information on which points to test.
  • Test the tongue and pulse if it is the patient’s first appointment, or if they are a repeat patient with internal medical concerns.
  • Start with patient in supine position to test the muscles, abdomen, and Shu points. You can then have them flip over when and if necessary.
  • Palpate and test (light to medium pressure).
    • Try changing from puling or pushing to lifting. Sometimes, the direction you push or pull a point makes all the difference.
    • Strum the Shu point with each touch point.
    • Start with the side closest to you. If nothing shows up, move to the other side of the table and test the same points on the other side.
  • If no points apparently work, you may needle locally.
  • You may needle the front mu points before addressing other areas to calm down patients who are Type-A, or in sympathetic mode. (Always make sure your patient is present and relaxed before treating tenser, knottier areas.)
  • Place your needles and let the patient sit.
  • Depending on the patient’s tolerance level and experience with acupuncture, come back and layer more or take out the needles and assess.

Your treatment flow may vary depending on the patient, their experience, and their needs:

Musculoskeletal concern (shoulder problem, etc.)

  • Check tongue and pulse if it is a new patient. (If it’s a repeat patient with the same concern, you don’t need to do this each time.)
  • Scan Shu points (helps to balance and relax the patient)
  • Manual muscle testing takes primacy.

Internal medical concern (menstrual issues, etc.)

  • TCM takes primacy – check tongue and pulse each appointment.
  • Scan the Shu points (Spleen 10 is a good point for gynecology, Liver 13 is the move point for the Spleen.)
  • Tension points will most likely be bilateral.

Treatment Examples

1. You’re at the insertion point at the levator scapula, and you notice it’s very tight. You put one finger on that point. You then put the fingers of your other hand on the motor point of the flexor carpi ulnaris, which is often very affective for this point. The levator scapula melts away immediately. From this, you know that the flexor carpi ulnaris will be the affective point for the levator scapula.

2. You check your patient’s pulse and notice that their liver pulse is a little empty, tight, and wiry. To decide whether to focus on tonifying or on moving, you test Liver 14 and notice it releases Bladder 18 completely, therefore making moving your focus area.

3. You’re scanning the patient, and notice that the medial scapula area is extremely tight. You palpate point 42, and the patient reacts with a strong, “Ow!” However, they never told you they had a should problem when they came in. You palpate some lung and pericardium points and feel the tension melt. (Remember to base treatment off of what YOU feel, as well as what the patient tells you!)

About the Author
Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
Connect with Willard on LinkedIn at or learn more about his services at Embark on this journey towards holistic health with Willard guiding your way.

Stephens Shu Point System

Stephens Shu Point System

This is a simple technique that I have developed over the past many years that I have found to be extremely useful to help with the treatment of my patients. For me acupuncture is most exciting when you are able to evaluate techniques and points in real time and make immediate changes. And it’s often more interesting and engaging for patients as well. And this is a way to do that. It is simple to learn and can be used in combination with all of the other techniques you employ with your patients. Some of the features of it:

  • It often forms the basis of the balancing work I do with patients.
  • It helps refine diagnosis.
  • It helps with point choice and fine tuning point location
  • It helps with evaluating if the stimulation used was sufficient
  • It provides another method for distal release of areas of tightness on people’s backs

I first was exposed to touching points to see how they affect other areas when I started to study with Kiiko Matsumoto. I was impressed with how one could find points that would make changes immediately and that you could “audition” points before you used them to assess their likely effectiveness.

Palpating the Shu points have become an important part of my diagnosis and treatment strategy. It has formed a reflex system similar to the Japanese acupuncture reflexes but it jives with the theory of TCM really well and helps to refine diagnoses and treatments. And the points identified with this method forms the foundation of points that I use to start a treatment to relax and balance a patient. And treating the points indicated by the Shu points will often lead to a better treatment outcome and easier time with the other points you want to include for other reasons, such as a local musculoskeletal problem.

In English we talk about these points as Associated points. Usually this is meant in the sense that these points are useful for the treatment of the organ that is associated with each of them. This is true, but another more important aspect of these points as I have discovered is their importance in diagnosis.

Usually the Mu points are spoken of as being the special points for palpatory diagnosis. And whereas they are useful, I find that they don’t react often unless things are really bad. Back Shu points, on the other hand are often very sensitive barometers of what is happening. Also they are dynamic and can change in their palpation quality very quickly and can, due to their dynamism, help you arrive at a diagnosis, choose points, and determine if your treatment is likely to be effective.

This dynamism is reflected by some of the sense of “Shu” in Chinese. When I asked Dr. Hong Jin about this, she told me that the word “Shu” of the back Shu has a meaning of transformation. These are the points where transformation happens. They are like switching stations in my view, nodes in the flow where the information on the associated meridian, energy system, or organ can become available for very easy evaluation. This dynamism of “transformation” is reflected in them having multi-functions in palpatory diagnosis and in the fact that they are extremely sensitive to quick change in how they feel.

And whereas I palpate the pulse, the hara, and the channels, I have found that palpating the Shu points has become the most powerful technique I have for diagnosis, point choice, likely efficacy of treatment, and teaching tool for bringing patients on board with the process. And the further beauty of it is that is nearly instantaneous, it’s feedback in real time.

Palpating a person’s Shu points has become an integral part of my intake. Sometimes I will go over all of them but often I will go to specific ones or general areas to check out something that I may have suspected from their history, symptoms, pulse, or other sign. I usually palpate the Shu points with the person lying on them. I know this sounds counterintuitive but since they are nearly the only points from the main channels on the back side of the body, it leaves the rest of the body available for confirmation and also for watching the reactions of the person on his or her face.

It takes a little practice doing it but it is easy enough to learn with a little practice. Can you do it with them prone? Sure, provided that you give them enough pillows to support them in the right places so that their back is really relaxed. That’s another advantage to happen the person lying supine. With them on their back and the knees lightly supported, the back should be doing absolutely nothing, so that any areas of tightness stand out and are, from my perspective, significant.

How to get under them? First form your hands like a blade, fingers together and stiff. At the upper part of the back and often at the lumbar area one can often get your fingers to the Shu points directly by essentially shoving them under the person, perhaps with compressing down the foam on the table with your knuckles as you are going in. You’ll want to keep your four fingers together for this.

The middle and lower thoracic Shu points can be more challenging. A good technique for getting into position there is to take your blade hands and place them palm down on the table with the thumbs tucked under their body as much as you easily can. Then lift their body up slightly with the posterior thumb while at the same time supinate and ulnar deviate at the wrist, thus flipping your hand over. And if you do it right, your fingers will land just about right on top of the inner Bladder line. And you can also use your non-palpating hand to gently lift up the edge of the person’s body, allowing the other hand to slide underneath.

Once your hand is underneath, feel for the bundle of paravertebral muscles. Or go to the spine and then pull back toward you about two inches. What you are looking for are areas of tightness that stand out from the areas above and below the area of tightness. You can curl your fingers of your palpating hand to strum across the muscles. Or another method that works better for some people is to put the four fingers together with the fingers in a fixed position with the fingers slightly curved, and, rather than actively curling the fingers, rock the fingers across the muscle bundle using the knuckles of the hand at the metacarpal-phalangeal joints as a fulcrum.

So how do you know where you are?

Most people know how to find where C7/T1 while looking at it, but that supine, it is usually at about the level of GB 21 if the arms are down by the sides with the shoulders down as well.

The level of the spine of the scapula is about T3 and is also about the level of Lung 1 on the front.

The tip of the scapula (and often about the top of the bra strap on women) is at the level of T7/T8 and Bl 17.

Bl 18 is about the same level as Liv 14.

The narrow part of the waist at about the bottom of the ribs, about the level of CV 10, is at the level of Bl 23.

And the height of the iliac crest on the mid-axillary line is at L4-L5 on women, just slightly lower than that on men.

Between these landmarks you can easily interpolate. Or if you prefer you can actually count the vertebra. It sounds hard but it is a pretty doable with a little practice.

So when you palpate what should you do exactly and what are you looking for? Generally you are looking for areas of notable tightness, the really tight areas will be very dramatic, both to your palpation and to the patient. Many times the patient will have no ideas that the area in question is so tight or sensitive. When the tension is moderate or more subtle, one can bend at the metacarpal-phalangeal joints with the still straight fingers, and in doing so, lever your fingers up into their muscles over the Shu points using the knuckles as a fulcrum. Then you can take the fingertips and strum the muscles from medial to lateral and back for further clarification.

Think of having a conversation with each Shu point you’re testing. “Ask” the point, “How is this?” by your palpation and listen to its response as you look for points to release it.

Most of the time, you will have no doubt as to what is significant. You will clearly feel it and so will the patient. And that’s part of the beauty of it. Both you and the patient will be clear that something funky is going on there. And if you do your work properly, palpating, watching and listening to them as you proceed with this, both of you will know after your treatment that something changed in a positive direction.

Have them practice trying to locate.

Now once you’ve found the tight areas, what do you do with them? While keeping contact with the tight Shu point with one hand, palpate points with the other hand to evaluate the effectiveness of that point for balancing and releasing that localized area of tightness. For most of the areas that we will find, the points that will best release them will be on the associated meridian of the Shu point.

Palpating the points to determine their effectiveness for Shu point release does not need to be done very firmly. And as you get better with this, you just need to just touch the individual point to properly assess its utility. The release sensation on the Shu point with usually happen within a second or two of contacting the appropriate point on the meridian with the other hand. There are a few people I have seen that it takes their body a few seconds more to react, but this is not common. The release you may feel in the Shu points may often not be complete, but when you find the right one you will feel a significant softening of the Shu point. This is what you are looking for with this method.

You ever learn alternate locations of points on the body? With this technique you can audition the various locations to see which is most effective for the person at the particular time you are seeing them. You can also evaluate what angle to insert the needle to have the best effect by giving a vector to your palpation of the release point.

The most effective point will change, depending on the day. It seems like this method will often key into the point that is “open” on a particular day. And somedays it will seem like many people will have the same point that is effective on a particular morning for a particular Shu point. There are systems that attempt to find the point that is open on a particular day and time of day. Some days it will seem like you are keying into this.

And by the points that are most effective, you can hone a diagnosis. Let’s take an example. You have a patient with a Liver pulse that is somewhat wiry but is also empty when you press into it. The sides of the tongue are pale, but the tongue sides are pulled in giving the tongue a spatulate appearance. They have other signs that point to both Liver Blood deficiency as well as Liver qi constraint. Well, each of those diagnoses can lead to the other condition. How can we determine which is the most important feature to focus on during today’s treatment?

You go to Bl 18 and find a notable tightness there and then with your other hand, you start palpating points on the Liver channel. If points like Liver 8 and Spleen 6 are the points that release Bl 18, it indicates that treating the deficiency is the most important thing to address today. If a point like Liver 4, 5, or 14 releases Bl 18, moving the qi is the most important focus for today’s treatment. And this can help you skew the focus of your herbal formula that you might give them at that treatment.

Shu Points and the distal points most often useful for the Shu point release

The points for release of the Shu points I focus on are most often are the points distal to the elbow and the knee. As you know from your studies, these are very powerful points, in general. They often have special functions as elemental points according to the five phases. They also have functions according to the delineation of jing well, Shu stream, he sea points, etc. These points prove to be the effective point for Shu point release about 70% of the time. About 15% of the time, the effective point will be a point in the upper arm or thigh. And another 15%of the time, the effective point will be on the trunk of the body.

Let’s go over the various Shu points and the most likely points to look at for release. I will try and list the points with the ones most often effective listed first.

Bladder 11 is a point that I don’t find much utility so far.

Bladder 12 is the wind Shu point. This will get tight when someone has an acute wind invasion. But it will also be tight with someone who got sick some time ago and never fully recovered. This person may have “retained pathogen”. This will provide a diagnostic clue as to this phenomenon and also guide you to points that may best release this.
So which points do you suspect would be most effective? L7, LI4, TH5, GB 31, GB20. Test them out to see which one is best.

Bladder 13 is the Shu point for the Lung. The most effective points are often L7, L5, L9, and sometimes L1, 6. Occasionally L3 (often with someone with retained grief) or L 8

Bladder 14 is the Shu point for the Pericardium. The most effective points tend to be P6, P3. Sometimes look to P5, P7, and occasionally P1

Bladder 15 is the Shu point for the Heart. The most effective points tend to be H3, 7. Also look to H9, especially with someone with Heart Blood deficiency (it’s the tonification point). And occasionally it can be H 6 or 5.

A special note about the upper jiao and about the Shu points in general. Sometimes when you feel a tightness at a Shu point and you can’t find a good point to release it, the tightness you feel may, in fact, be bleeding over from an adjacent Shu point that you didn’t yet notice or perhaps you may have mismeasured your location. And one of the things that I have noticed is in the upper jiao area, in particular, is that there seems to be more bleed over among the Lung, Pericardium, and Heart. That is, you may be pretty sure you are on a Lung Shu point and the effective release point is a Pericardium point. Perhaps this is because they are all affected by the zong qi generally.

Another note is that the outer Shu points are also diagnostic and can be found to be released by the points associated with the inner Shu points. Thus Bl 43 can be released by a point such as P6. And this upper jiao bleed over can be seen in the outer Shu points as well.

Bladder 17 is the Diaphragm Shu. Tightness here will often be accompanied by infracostal tightness in the belly. The best point for releasing this tightness and the diaphragm is the Ear Diaphragm point. Also useful is Stomach 20.

Bladder 18 is the Liver Shu point. The most common points for release are Liver 3, Spleen 6 (because it is also on the Liver channel), and Liver 8. Also effective are Liver 4, 5, 13, and 14, and occasionally Liver 2.

Bladder 19 is the Gall Bladder Shu point. The most common points for release are GB 41, 34, 36, and Dang Nan Xue. Also effective are GB 40, 31-32. Sometimes look to GB 42, 39, 38, or 37 for release of Bl 19.

Bladder 20 is the Spleen Shu point. The most common points for release are Sp 6, 4, 10. Also effective are Sp 9, 8, 3. Rarely Sp 2 or even Liver 13 (it’s the front Mu of the Spleen).

Bladder 21 is the Stomach Shu point. The most common points for release are Stomach 36, Lan Wei, 40, and 37. Also useful to try are St 42, 43, 34.

For the Liver and GB, sometimes I’ll find that it’s an area encompassing both Shu points, so one needs to check both meridians for the release point. Similarly one will find this on the Spleen and Stomach. You’ll focus on one them as being the primary area of interest when actually the release is to be found on the paired meridian.

Bladder 22 is the Triple Heater Shu point. The most common points for release are TH 9, TH5, and TH3. Also effective are TH 6 and TH4 and occasionally TH 8.

Bladder 23 is the Kidney Shu point. The most common points for release are K7, K2, K 10. Also useful is K3 and K 6 and sometimes Sp 6.

Bladder 25 is the Large Intestine Shu point. I have not found many times that the LI points are effective. In fact, once we get to the lumbosacral region a special relationship seems to hold forth.

This region, along with the upper shoulder and neck region, is so often an area of discomfort in our patients, from a purely musculoskeletal perspective. And each of these two areas seems to have some special associations that are helpful to keep in mind.

The meridian that seems to rule the sacrum, in my experience, is the Gall Bladder channel. The internal pathway of the Gall Bladder channel courses through the sacrum and the most effective points to relieve the tightness and discomfort there are the points mentioned in the Gall Bladder section above.

I’ll give you some ideas for release of the other special area of the upper shoulders and neck. One of my teachers used to say that L7 is the master point for treating the neck area. This point can be remarkably effective, but many times you may need to use and alternate location or a specific angling. We will talk about this in the next section. Many times the area that is tight and needs release is the SI 15 up into the bai lao area (on the Bladder channel). The most effective points tend to be SI 3, 7, 6. Or the area of discomfort is around TH15, in which case the point to look at could be TH 3, 5, 9, etc. Another point to look at for this area is the motor point for the flexor carpi ulnaris. This point is special for the tightness that so often happens at the attachment of the levator scapula. It is located at one third of the way from H3 to H 7.
And L7 angled toward L8 can be a special point for the anterior scalenes.

Variant Point Locations

One of the uses of this Shu point system is the ability is gives you to find the most effective location of a point for a particular person on a particular day. If can even help you find the best angle to insert the point.

I’d like to share with you some of the locations for some of the above mentioned points that I have found useful in my years of practice. Some of them may seem strange compared to what is currently taught. But in fact, some of them were taught in these alternate locations when I studied many years ago. Others are ones that I have discovered in my poking around the past many years.

Let’s follow our outline from above regarding the Shu points and go from the top down and I’d like to point out some locations I like.


So for the Lung points, Lung 7 I most often find in line with L 9, just proximal to the radial stylus. I’ll often needle it from radius to the ulna.
But sometimes, especially for the neck region, I’ll find it most effective when it’s needled from this location toward L 8.

So how do you audition various angles? Place your finger on the point and traction it in a particular direction that you may want to needle it. You will sometimes find that a particular direction will give a much better effect.

I will sometimes locate L5 more lateral, in what some people call Japanese L5. And sometimes angling this point toward L6 will give the best release.

And speaking of L 6, I tend to find it just distal to the flexor muscle bundle in the hole on the anterior surface of the radius. This is the xi cleft point and can be a dandy point. And for L 1 I will often palpate around an area a little bigger than a quarter to find the most effective location.


For the Heart points I think I start with the points on the forearm at a different location than many of you. I start with H 7 on the wrist crease on the radial side of the pisiform. You can feel the hole there and then there are three more holes going up the forearm each a half cun apart. And when you get to H4, that’s the last hole you will feel.

Triple Heater

On the Triple Heater, I will check TH4 on either side of the extensor tendon to see if one is more effective than the other. And for TH 9, the location I am most likely to find effective is a Japanese location about two-thirds of the way from TH4 to LI 11 in a hole there.


For the Liver points, I will look for Liver 4 on both sides of the tendon. The preferred location is medial to the big tendon, but many times I will find the effective location is just lateral to the tendon and can be sometimes best used with an angle proximally.

Liver 5 I will check on the bone where you are taught, but more often I find it effective in the hole just medial to the bone.

Liver 8 I will often audition several locations, but my most dependable location is in the big hole proximal to the medial knee.

Liver 13 I like to find at the anterior inferior corner of the eleventh rib.

Liver 14 I like to find in the 6th costal interspace, but more lateral than many of you find it. The location I like tends to line up with the lateral edge of the areola on men. It is also at the angle where the rib changes direction. There is a hole there and is often tender. The angle I favor there is angling it laterally between the ribs (sort of toward the axilla).


For the Gall Bladder, I most often find GB 39 on the anterior surface of the fibula. You slide your thumb up the fibula to where it stops as the fibula dives under muscle. One of my earliest teachers said that one the names of this point is “no bone”. And I’ve found that a number of people that were trained many years ago were taught to find it here.

GB 34 can be in a variety of locations, but one of my favorite locations is to take the prominences of the tibia and fibula and make an equilateral triangle with GB 34 being the third point. When I am looking at Gb 31 or 32 as a location to release Bl 19 or the sacral area, I will sometimes palpate with three fingers, and then if I get a release, find out which of the three locations is best.


On the Spleen, one non-standard place to check is just a little proximal to Sp 3, in the hole just proximal to Sp 3, in what some of the Japanese acupuncture people such as those studying with Kiiko Matsumoto call Sp3.2.


For the Kidney, I will often locate K2 in a hole just inferior and posterior to the navicular. For K 6 I will look between the two tendons just inferior to the malleolus (and often needle it posteriorly), but I will also check a location about one cun inferior to that.
On K 7 I will often check an angle I learned from Dr. Tran. Sometimes the magic angle is one that he says he uses regularly, which is to angle the insertion anteriorly toward K8. And for K 10 the location that I find most often works the best is one that is one to two cun proximal to the popliteal crease, in the hole between the two hamstring tendons. This location seems to be particularly effective.

Checking your work

One of the nice features of this system is to go back and quickly check your work. That is to say, go back and repalpate the Shu points you found to be noteworthy. Sometimes you will find that one of the points has not released well. What this usually means is that you need to back and give the release point some additional stimulation. Or sometimes you need to try a different angle. And for extra effectiveness, leave your one hand on the Shu point and lightly tickle it while stimulating the distal point.

Some patients, who were aware of the tight spots when you started, will be amazed at the changes that have happened immediately.

What to do when all of the Shu points seem tight

Occasionally you will have a patient whose whole paravertebrals are like cables. It’s hard to differentiate any stand-out tight area. What I will often do with these patients is to use the Master and Coupled points for the Du Mai, SI3 and Bl 62. And if you have a set of Japanese ion pumping cords, put the black clip on SI3 and the red on Bl 62 and maybe add the ear Shen Men point. Let these points rest for maybe 10 minutes or so. Almost always when you come back, the generalized tightness will have dissipated and the field will have cleared so that you can find the key areas for treatment.

Flow of treatment session when using the Shu point system

It doesn’t replace what you have normally done. It provides you with another tool to evaluate and come up with effective treatment for your patient. For me, I may not examine the pulse in detail or check the tongue at each and every treatment. But I usually will examine the abdomen and check the Shu points at each treatment. I will palpate the hara to see if there is an extra meridian or other finding that is standing out that may be important in the first set of needles is use. And several points from my Shu point findings will often be a part of my first set of needles. And with the Shu points I will often scan for one noteworthy finding in the upper, middle, and lower jiaos. I won’t always find one, but I do scan in that way.

And then in my second set of needles there may be points that I know to be effective for a condition from my TCM training or other information. Or if it’s a musculoskeletal problem, I will probably have done some manual muscle testing to inform what points might be most effective for treating that condition and I will include them then. But of course, if they have some sort of back pain, the work that was done with the Shu point system, will have already gone a long way toward diffusing the congestion in the area of their back that they are having trouble in.

Of course there is a good deal of variability in how I work, but this gives you an idea of how the flow might likely go when I’m seeing a patient.

I hope this material will prove useful to you in your practice. Try it out. Experiment with it. You will probably make further refinements with it that will suit you and the way you practice. I think you will find it useful and interesting to incorporate. Let me know if you find it useful.

About the Author
Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
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An Interview with Dr. Eric Stephens

An Interview with Dr. Eric Stephens

Q: OK, so tell me how you started developing the Back Shu Point System.

A: I think the first part of it came about with studying with Kiiko Matsumoto, where she would have all these reflex points, especially in the abdomen, and then she would touch a point and go, “Ah, it released. That means that this is the point we need to treat to rectify that,” whether it was the Adrenal Reflex Zone or something like that, or whatever. She has a lot of relationships. Or some of them are musculoskeletal, and using old [?] Lung 7 to 8, and like, “Ah. Yes, on you, that’s really good.”

And I started playing around with that more, realizing that, for me acupuncture was most exciting when I could find things in real-time. When it wasn’t so much of an intellectual exercise, “Oh, you have these symptoms; therefore, you must be liver qi stagnant, and we’ll do Liver 3 and 14 for liver qi stagnation.” Well, OK.

But then I got into going further, of realizing that you could test other things, as well. I think the first place that I noticed was people’s Bladder 23 being tight frequently. And like, god, well, maybe I could find something that would release that, that would open that area up. And I was like, well, it has to do with the kidneys, let’s try some kidney points. Yeah. But what was interesting was that it wasn’t the same on every person, nor was it the same every day.

It was almost like the chronotherapy, according to the hours or something—there were certain days where certain points were open, and I noticed that. Like some days, everybody Kidney 10 works on Bladder 23, or most everybody. Or other days, it’s more Kidney 7. So, I started playing with that, and then I went—people with other areas that were problematic, and it was like, well, where the hell am I? I’m at Bladder 18. Let’s try some liver points. And going like, “Oh, yeah.” And then, further going into taking someone’s pulse, and seeing that their liver pulse was both a little empty and a little tight, wiry, and it was like, well, what’s more important here? Tonifying or moving?

Well, their Bladder 18. I could figure out what was more important. Oh, Liver 8 releases it completely. Well, tonifying’s more important. Or oh, Liver 14 or 3 is the one that works. Oh, moving is more important for them today. It kind of helps refine my diagnosis.

And then, as I got further into it, I also realized that it could tell me the angle of the needling that was most effective. It could also tell me, have I stimulated enough, after putting the needle in, and it’s like, “It didn’t really release.” You stimulate it a little more, and it’s like, “Ah, there it is.” So, it’s kind of this real-time feedback loop. It’s like test, don’t guess.

Q: So, you don’t have to just do the same channel, like for Bladder 37, you could do Kidney channels. Sorry, 23. You’re sitting there, you’re palpating Kidney channels.

A: Yeah.

Q: Can you kind of do any point, or it tends to be channel paired, or channel-related–?

A: No, you can do anything. Like, for instance, let’s take the area of bai lu [?] or something, in the neck, or SI 15 area, that area that’s frequently tight on people. You know, Matt, one of his little nuggets is that for the levator scapula, the motor point for the flexor carpi ulnaris is often really affective. Well, so let’s say I’m on the insertion at the scapula, and boy, that’s tight. I can tell their levator’s nasty. Well, what I’ll do is I’ll put one finger on that, and then I’ll use the other fingers on the other hand on the motor point of the flexor carpi ulnaris, and if it melts right away, it’s like, yeah, that’s the point.

And it’s not on the same channel, per se, but I also know that other points are useful, like sometimes, it’s the small intestine point, because it kind of goes right through that area, the small intestine channel. Or from old Chinese style, Lung 7 is the master point for the whole neck area. So, a lot of times, I’ll just feel that, and I’ll palpate two or three points in close succession and go, “Oh, that’s it.” And it’s like, “Lung 7 feels a little better, but not all the way better,” so then I’ll traction it towards 8, and then it’s like, “Oh, that’s it. I’ve got to angle it that way for the best affect.” Does that make sense?

Q: So, there’s not necessarily specific needling techniques, again, it’s just testing to figure out what technique would work.

A: If you have the time, or you’re not getting a clear answer. And sometimes it’s a paired meridian, occasionally. Or sometimes you’ll have bleed-through. It’s like, oh, 18, OK, I’ll test all the liver points—well, nothing really—well, let me check Gallbladder, and it’s like, oh, it’s a gallbladder point. Because I thought it was 18 but it was really 19—whether I was feeling in the exact right spot, or that the gallbladder was affecting the liver—that sometimes happens, too.

Q: I’m trying to get a treatment flow in my head. Do you palpate and then do the pulse, tongue, and talk to them, and you kind of have an idea, and then test the Shus? Or do you test all the Shus, and go, “Oh, that seems super tight,” and then ask some questions about that? Or how does that—because definitely, you can use it to help direct your diagnostics, but when does that testing flow happen, like in the—naturally, when you’re treating someone, how does that flow work?

A: Well, it’s changed over the years. It used to be pulse, tongue, all that stuff, and then maybe abdominal palpation and then the Shu points, and it’s often that way in new patients—that’s often the flow in new patients. But for repeat customers, where I know kind of their general, underlying situation, I will often omit the tongue and sometimes the pulse and go right to their tummy and there back. As I’ve gotten more competence in it, the back has gotten more like my go-to. Like, especially for balancing.

For instance, I’ve got a big musculoskeletal component that I need to do, but they’re a little—they’re pretty tight, or they’re pretty weak, I may start with a short course of points that I garner from doing my Shu point diagnosis. And then, I’ll go—and that will relax them, it will balance them, you’ll get them kind of organized for—OK, I want to really fasciculate that muscle, and I want to rebalance this, and maybe use some electro. If I went right to it on a lot of people, it’s a little jarring, coming from their daily life. Plus, just balancing them, it makes the musculoskeletal stuff work and stay better.

So, I would say that it’s taken more of a primary role in a lot of my work with people—that and manual muscle testing, for a lot of my more sports-acupuncture-oriented things. If they’re there for digestive concerns, it’s much more about tongue and pulse, or if they’ve got menstrual issues—kind of the more internal medicine, TCM paradigm probably takes more primacy.

But I’ll add in the TCM. It’s like, oh right, you said you have stagnant blood, it seems from your pattern, your tongue and everything. Well, what points are most effective for you? And then you kind of glance, you go through, and oh, Bladder 20’s tight. Well, what point? Is it Spleen 4, which moves? Spleen 8? Spleen 10? So, I’ll test those points. Oh, it’s Spleen 10. That’s really good for gynecology, that makes sense. Or 18’s really tight. Well, it should be 3 or 4 or 5, they both move a lot. We want to move the blood—oh, yeah, it’s 3. That makes sense. Or their digestive concerns. Oh, yeah Liver 13, yeah, it’s the move point for the spleen, that makes sense.

So, it will inform my internal medical treatment with acupuncture, but I’ll probably put that more toward the back seat, whereas with other conditions it’s more in the front seat. But it’s usually there in all my treatments.

Q: Which treatments is more in the front seat versus ones that are in the backseat, I don’t know if I got that?

A: Like, if I know that you’re coming for your shoulder condition, you know, the first time, I’ll check your tongue and pulse, and all of that. But I’m more—for that condition, I’m more interested in your manual muscle testing. And then I’ll then, for balancing you, I’ll do a quick scan of your Shu points. So, that’s more front seat.

Q: You would kind of use the Shu points before you would do the trigger points to kind of get them relaxed—

A: Oftentimes. Yeah, just to get them balanced and get things organized for the next piece, because if they’re already coming in kind of imbalanced, and you go right to an area that’s already a little jacked up, so to speak, neurologically, for a lot of people, that’s intense. But if you ground them, or you tonify them, or let’s say they’re really liver qi stagnant, and you don’t address that first. Every point, they get a similar, it’s like, “Ah! Ooh! Ee!” It makes it less comfortable for them, and it makes it much less smooth for me, in my flow. It’s more like, “OK, how are you doing?” You have to slow way down—so by balancing some of that stuff up first, then you can go into it, and you get much less reactivity that can be difficult for them and sometimes you.

Q: Yeah. So, I’ll palpate the Shus, and sometimes I’ll find multiple tight spots.

A: That’s usual.

Q: Or I’ll find a tight spot—OK, so my question is, what happens if I find multiple tight spots? Or what happens if I find a tight spot that’s not painful to the patient, or I find a tight spot that is painful to the patient? Is it more about what the patient feels, or more about what I feel, or kind of a combination of both?

A: Combination of both, but primary is what I feel, what you feel. A really common example is, I’m scanning the medial scapular area, it’s like, “Oh my god 42 is like crazy,” and they go, “Ow, god!” “Yeah, you didn’t mention anything about your shoulder.” “Oh, that’s always there. It’s been since I can’t remember when, and it’s nasty.” And I go, “OK.” So then, I’ll palpate some Lung points or some pericardium points, in case I was one off, and it will be like—boom, it melts under my fingers. So, I’ll put that in, and it’s like, you can just see them kind of go, “Ahh.”

A common pattern would be maybe one from the upper Jao [?], you know that, like 42, and maybe one from the middle Jao, like liver, and maybe something down low. Like you’ll find three, or two. And then I’ll just pop those in. And sometimes, right after I pop them, I can go right into something else, but I always feel like it’s good to balance them.

And whereas I used to, like, “OK, what’s going to be good to balance them? Maybe four gates—” this is more tailored to them in the moment. And they may have different things. Some people come back with the same ones, repeatedly. Other times, you treat it and it’s gone. Like, “OK, that was easy.”

Q: And it’s really a—because that’s the other thing is I’m like, “Well, did it melt?” But it should be pretty pronounced if you get it—or what if it’s like kind of—you know, because I’m new, it feels slightly better, and I ask them how they feel, and they go, “Oh, it’s slightly better.”

A: They often—a lot of people can’t tell. They don’t live in their bodies enough—I mean, some people are really sensitive to what’s going on, and they really get it. But some people don’t really understand what’s going on or feel it. It’s more what you feel. And if it’s the best point you did, go back and tickle it as you’re stimulating the other point, because that opens up, again, a linkage. Like, “Hey, I’m talking to you at this point.”

Like I might be at Bladder 18 and with Liver 8, and it’s like 50% better, but I’ll go, “Let me angle it a little differently,” and it will be like, “that was it.” Or maybe it just needs a little extra lift and thrust or twirl or something, and then it will go another 20%. It’s not that it melts 100%, but that there’s a change, in real time. Because the point will continue to work after you pull it out, but you want to have a significant shift.

Q: OK, so if there’s multiple ones that you feel—

A: Yeah, I might pop in Lung 9, Liver 8, and Kidney 3, or something. Or Stomach 36 and Pericardium 6 or something, you know.

Q: Would one point—so, say I have like a Neck, Bladder 13, and then the kidneys, Bladder 23, and they’re both tight. Do you find that one point will relax both of them, or do you tend to find that you have to find two different points for both of them?

A: Usually I find two different—sometimes if they’re related…

Q:And then do you feel like you have to treat all of the points, or just what relates to the symptoms, like if they’re going, “Oh, I have…”?

A: No, I understand. One, it depends on the individual. Like a sensitive person who, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, “If I get 10 needles in them total, that’s going to be a good day,” because, especially someone new, they’re like, “Who the hell is this guy? What is acupuncture? I’m a little weirded out by this whole thing.” I’ll winnow it down, like, “Oh, you have digestive concerns, and Spleen 6 is releasing Bladder 20 and 21?” I’ll do that one, and I’ll let their upper Jao, their Bladder 13, go today. But I’ve noted it. I’ll usually make a note of which Shu points and what points release them, off to the side.

Q: OK, so you do have like a couple Shu points and like common release ones.

A: Sure, yeah. That’ll be in my June class.

Q: Oh, cool. And they tend to be paired, like channel pairs?

A: Tend to be, not always. Like sometimes Spleen 6 is the best point for the liver. But the liver courses through there. Or the sacrum. Bladder 27 isn’t often small intestine points.

Q: When’s your June class?

A: It’s like Saturday the 2nd or something. It’s half a day, it’s the OCOM Alumni free event.

Q: Oh, OK.

A: Yeah, I’m doing like 1:00 to 5:00 or something. And they said, “Well, what should you do?” And I said, “I don’t know, people ask me about this.” And they said, “Oh, yeah, do that.” So, I’m going to try to impart a lot there.

Q: That will be good.

A: Is this helping?

Q: Yeah. Oh. I treat most people laying face-down. And you treat most people laying face-up.

A: I do. Or at least I’ll start there, and then I’ll flip them over.

Q: Yeah. I imagine it would be the same face-down, except it’s harder to kind of get to some points?

A: What are you asking about, about the Shu Point diagnosis?

Q: The Shu Point diagnosis.

A: I find that it’s easier to access all the points that you’re wanting to addition, so to speak, with them supine, with them face-up. The only things you can’t really reach are the back Shu, and you’re using them, anyway, because you’re maybe trying—everything else is pretty accessible when they’re supine, other than the ones you’re actually lying on. Secondly, when they’re lying on them, for some reason, I get more of a neutral feel from the areas that aren’t involved.

Q: When you’re lying on them, you’re getting more of a neutral feel for the areas that aren’t involved.

A: Like the figure ground, like who’s important, sticks out better than if I’m going like this. And it’s probably just because I’m used to it. I’m sure that one could cultivate the sensitivity in another position. It’s just more convenient like, I’ll find something in their abdomen, I want to see what releases that. Or I’ll find something in their neck. You can reach their whole neck this way. Or something in their sacrum. OK, what point releases that? Or all the Shu points, what point releases that? So, I have more availability to get to—sometimes the liver, it’s Liver 14 or 13. I think it’s just convenience, plus, a lot of times, I find, both with doing the treatment, I want to watch their face. I want to watch their color change. I want to watch their eyes go like this. I want that feedback, because I know that, “Oh, they’re feeling that.” Or, “Oh, there’s the stimulation.” Or, “Whoa, I need to slow down, their color just shifted, and it got a little pale or got a little green. OK, we need to take a break. You could get shocky.” Or they get a little yellow. That’s a good sign.

Q: Yellow’s a good sign?

A: It can be, yeah. Real light, just a teeny shift. Or they’re getting red, or you watch the musculature in their face just kind of melts, it’s like, OK, good. They’re going to be much better when I want to dig into their hip with a three-inch needle. They’re chilled-out.

Q: So, then would you then half-way rotate someone over, and do the motor points—like how does that work? Would you flip someone over if you wanted to do like SI 12 or something?

A: Yeah. I find I get anywhere from 60 to 80% of what I want to do—or sometimes 100% with them supine. Because the only things you can’t reach are bladder points, and like SI 15 or 12, or something. Some of that stuff. And then I’ll flip them over. Like for instance, let’s take a shoulder—a real common one we were talking about, like with you—the big piece of work is your sub-scap. That’s what I really want to focus on, because that is going to turn on your supraspinatus. Now, might I flip you over at the end and just hit the supraspinatus motor point for a few minutes? Sure. Or, you know, the levator insertion point if the levator’s involved, yeah. And maybe a distal point to balance Bladder 60, or something.

So, yeah, a lot of my treatments are more weighted toward a supine treatment, just because I can watch their face, I can reach most of the points. But sometimes it’s not. I mean, like—

Q: I feel like that answers my question. Is it always both sides, or can it be just one side?

A: Oh, that has that pattern?

Q: That has the tension, like—

A: Yeah, mostly it’s bilateral, but sometimes it’s not. Especially it’s—oh, let’s say it’s a computer program, who’s constantly—they have mouse-shoulder. They’re going to have it more on their mouse side.

Q: Yeah, so for a beginner, for someone who’s just trying to start out, most of the time it would be a bilateral.

A: Yeah, especially if you’re looking at more internal medical stuff or balancing.

Q: And are you doing—can it be more of an internal bladder point, could it be an external bladder point, or is it just the tight of the erector spinae? Could it be anywhere along there, or is it more specifically—

A: It’s usually—huh, that’s a really good question, actually. It’s usually the inner bladder line. But in the scapular region, it’s often the outer bladder line. But they’ll have the same correspondence. Like Bladder 43, think pericardium point. But the lower—and sometimes it’s true for some of the lower points, like let’s say Bladder 52. That’s another one. Some people call it an adrenal-oriented point, or anyway, it’s related to the kidneys. Well, it’ll be a kidney point, nine times out of ten that will release it.

Q: So, when you find a Shu point that’s active, and you’re testing points to see what relaxes it, and—are you using like a five element, are you using traditional Chinese medicine points, are you using—what system of thoughts would pull up those points?

A: Usually kind of TCM or associated meridian is the first level.

Q: It’s not like [indiscernible] point on the thumb, or—

A: It could be—

Q: In general, you’re not—with TCM, it’s always case-specific, but I’m just saying, in general.

A: Yeah, but like the example I gave for the levator, how sometimes it’s like, I know from my work with Matt, the flexor carpi ulnaris will release that 15 area—that’s not particularly TCM. Or the sacrum is a meridian perspective. Sometimes it’s a meridian perspective rather than TCM, per se.

Q: And in the supine position—I mean, I guess the Mu [?] points don’t really have a muscle [indiscernible]. Do you test the Mu points?

A: Do I palpate them?

Q: Is that—

A: I sometimes do, but I don’t always necessarily—it’s more the exception than the rule. Like for instance, somebody’s really tight here at CV [?] 14-15, well, that’s kind of fire-related, and some people say the heart. So, I may just go, “Oh, let’s check Heart 7, 6, 5, 4, 3—oh, 3, oh yeah, it releases that. Oh, cool.” But it’s less common. I use the Shu points for my Mu points.

Q: Oh, OK.

A: Because after years of palpating the Mu points, I didn’t find I garnered any really clinically useful information very often. Like for instance, with gallbladder problems, palpating Gallbladder 25, it’s usually like, well, maybe, but there are other points that are way more responsive, like the Gallbladder Reflex point on the ribs, or SI 11 on the right, or there’s other points that are crystal clear, and that I get more clear information that I can test against what point releases it, rather than Gallbladder 25. The number of times I’ve found anything of interest at Gallbladder 25 are pretty small, but the number of times I’ve found something here at the ribs, or at the shoulder, are a lot.

And maybe it’s just that I don’t—when you—I haven’t used them enough to garner that kind of fine discernment. Like some people, it’s like—you know, people who take the pulse and go, “Your aortic valve has a problem,” or, “You have this—this happened when you were a kid.” People can tell all sorts of stuff if you study stuff long enough.

Q: So, the flow of your treatment. The patient comes in—new patient. You would do a traditional test.

A: Intake, you know.

Q: Say they’re coming in for internal issues. Gynecological issues, you would do a typical kind of intake—

A: Yeah and really drill down on what’s their menstrual flow like, and is it painful, and you know, all the questions, much more expanded menstrual intake than I would with just somebody else.

Q: And then you would do tongue and pulse—

A: Correct.

Q: And then in your head, you were thinking, “OK, I have a traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis,”—

A: Mhm.

Q: And then you start testing. Is that kind of—so then you would have them lie down and start testing the Shu?

A: Yeah, and/or the abdomen. For instance, with someone with a gynecological case, the abdomen because really important. Like, “How’s the Chung-Mai [?] feel in the abdomen? Oh, wow, it’s like two chop sticks in there. Well, that tells me something. That kind of goes along with their problem.” And well, with that, let’s just check, oh, Bladder—and this will often happen. “Upper Shu, oh Bladder 43 is really tight. Oh, I bet I know what point’s going to release that. Pericardium 6 because it’s already part of the Chung-Mai treatment,” and most of the time, that’s true. And I’ll go down, and it’s like, “Well, probably, we’re going to find something in the liver, just guessing.” And it’s like, oh, hell yes.

And it’s like, for grins, I might try Spleen 4 or 6, but it will often be like Liver 3 or Liver 14 will be a really important point for that person, to add into the mix. And I won’t necessarily do all those points, but it will sort of be like, “Oh, OK, so that’s important,” and already, you think liver, but it’s sort of like, “OK, well, is 3 the most important point today? It might work, but what point might be—maybe there’s another point I could use with it.” Like if I have 14, I may do 3 and 14. But I wouldn’t leave 14 out, because I know that her body has a big release reaction to that, and things are being held tightly. And I would do the Chung-Mai to open up the Chung-Mai.

Q: So, you get that all balanced out. And then, do you let them sit? Do—

A: You mean with the needles in?

Q: Yeah.

A: Yeah, sure.

Q: OK, and then you come back, and then do you layer anything else on top of that?

A: Depends. You said like their first treatment? Probably not. Especially if they’re not like, “Oh, yeah, I saw an acupuncturist for 20 years in San Francisco,” they’re old hands. And again, I’m watching their face. Are they like puddles? It’s like, “Oh, yeah, you’re done. You’re cooked. Any more and you won’t be able to drive home.” Or, “Yeah, I feel better.” And I’ll just feel around and go—it’s one of those clinical judgement pieces. Or the sensitive person who’s just coming in for their first one. I might just do the Chung-Mai and then let them sit. Take them out, and then do the Spleen Liver piece, and then call that good. And maybe four or five points altogether, whereas someone else, it might be 10 to 20. Kind of judging by both how novice they are at acupuncture, how they look, how strong’s their Qi—yeah.

Q: And is it different if they have like shoulder issues?

A: You mean like that was their chief complaint and their main reason for coming?

Q: Yeah.

A: Yeah. Different filters kind of move to the foreground. Whereas the person with menstrual problems, I’m not going to do a lot of manual muscle testing. Maybe at some point, I might want to find out what’s going on there, but I probably would skip that for the menstrual case. For the shoulder guy, yeah. That’s going to—I mean, I’ll do the tongue and pulse, and whatnot, and just kind of get a sense, “Jesus, his pulse is big and wiry. OK.” We know that moving things is going to be a more important factor than tonifying, whereas somebody who’s very kind of slight and tired, and their pulse is really weak, it’s like, “Oh, I think before I drill into the muscles that I’ve discovered need to be happening—I’ve don’t my manual muscle testing,” but I’ve done my pulse, and it’s like, “We need to give her a little Spleen 6, Stomach 36, or something,” either that I’ve found through Shu point testing or just in general. I need to brace her up a little before I start trying to attempt to move a lot of energy in her shoulder. Because if she’s already kind of this way, it won’t work out well.

Q: Yeah. So, you do your manual muscle testing, you get a sense of the TCM diagnosis, they’re laying down on the table, and the first thing that you do is…

A: Give them a big kiss. No.

Q: Would it be like you said earlier, like you would try to do a couple points to calm them down?

A: Mhm, or even before that, for a lot of cases, the very first thing I do with them is I pot your Shin-Min [?] in. Because I know that they’re kind of hyperreactive, wiry types. And it’s like, that, I know, will take off about 30% of that tendency. Pop those in real quick. Or Shin-Min with Sympathetic, if they’re real type-A and they’re always constantly in sympathetic mode. Pop those two in, and then like, “OK, now what?” Then, maybe I’ll do the Shu points. The Shu-point designated body points.

Q: Is that a good rule, in general, to kind of throw in Shin-Min to kind of calm them down first before you palpate the Shu points?

A: I don’t usually do it before I palpate. I usually do it as sort of the overture to the treatment. I sometimes think of treatments as being sort of a musical piece, like, “OK, here comes the overture, or here comes the first act.” OK, they’ve come off the ceiling; their fingernails are no longer stuck in the ceiling. Great. Now we will need them to arrive on the table. And we’ll do the Spleen 6 and whatever else. Now, they’re kind of fully present. Now, I can kind of take apart the knottier areas.

So, sometimes, it may not be actually three discreet sets of needles, but it may kind of progress in that fashion.

Q: How long are treatments?

A: For me?

Q: Yeah.

A: Usually an hour to an hour and a quarter. Between talking with them, getting them changed and getting them out the door.

Q: OK, so, I’m palpating, and I find the Shus, I test the points, and I don’t have the palpation. I can’t seem to find anything that seems to work.

A: Something that releases it?

Q: Yeah. Do you ever needle locally?

A: Yeah, you can, sure. Or let’s say they have pain at Bladder 43, and I find that Pericardium 6 releases it some. Will I flip them over if I’ve had them supine, and go locally? Of course. You bet. Especially if there’s a local problem. And then I may follow it up with some Gua Sha [?] or something. Yeah, definitely.

Q: Is it a light pressure, is it a strong pressure?

A: To the point that you’re testing?

Q: Yeah.

A: Pretty light. I mean—

Q: Do you ever find that it’s light, and then if you press harder, it releases, or does it tend to be pretty light?

A: I would say light to medium. I mean, basically, what you’re doing is you’re asking a question. And I think it may help a little bit if you’re actively asking the question in your mind, you know, intention. It’s like, “Hey, what do you think of this? How about this? How about that?” It’s almost like you’re asking the body. It’s like what I was doing with you earlier, like with the manual muscle testing. It’s like, “What does your body think of this? What do you think of that?” So, it’s this questioning mode. It’s asking the person, “What do you think of this? Is this important?” And it doesn’t need to be heavy pressure. I mean, you don’t want to just barely touch it. You want to make contact so enough so it’s like, “What do you think of this?”

But if you’re getting equivocal results, try changing the vector. Like pulling or pushing or lifting or—sometimes that’ll, like, Dr. Tran, in our doctorate program, he said that he always uses Kidney 7 towards 8. And I was like, “I’ve never heard of that.” And he said, “Oh, very important.” And it was like, hm. So, what I’ve noticed is sometimes, I’ll be looking for a kidney point, and I’ll kind of go over 7, and it was like, “Oh, there was something in the area,” and, “Did you try 7 toward 8?” and I’ll put it on 7 and pull toward anterior, and it’s like, “Oh, that’s it.” It releases with that vector. That’s the way you have to needle it.

Q: So, I palpate a Shu, find the tight spot. Do I decrease pressure, touch a point, and then push again? Or do you leave it on that tension and touch points? You know what I mean?

A: I strum the Shu point with each point.

Q: Strum it, and then stop strumming, test, and strum again? Like playing a guitar?

A: Yeah. Like, “What do you think of this point? How about this point? How about this point? Oh my god, I didn’t even have to strum. I could just feel my finger sink in.” But usually, there will be a little leveraging off my knuckles here, kind of going, “Ee-ee-ee-ee.” I mean, I could show you, if you want.

Q: No, I that makes sense. And I think you already explained it in that paper that you sent me.

A: There’ll be more.

Q: I’m just getting it down so that we can—so, you graduated school—where did go to school?

A: Well, it was right after the earth cooled. We had to get the dinosaurs out of the way to get to class.

Q: Because three had to have been time before Kiiko started teaching, right?

A: Oh, god yes.

Q: Because Kiiko wasn’t teaching in the beginning.

A: Oh, no, I’ve gone through many iterations of practice style, heavens.

Q: OK, so you were—how old were you when you started studying with Kiiko, or looking into Kiiko? How far [?] after practice?

A: Oh, maybe 12 to 15 years, somewhere in there.

Q: OK, and then you started learning about Kiiko’s method, and really liked testing unresponsive [?], and so, started to explore that.

A: But I never became a full Kiiko acolyte. But I liked her emphasis on, stuff should happen right now. We should be able to find out what’s going to work, and we should be able to find out right now what’s going to be the most effective treatment for you, based on palpation. And I found that I had a facility for palpating, whereas, you know, maybe some five element practitioner, “Oh my god, I can tell by the smell, it’s acrid, so that means you’ve got this constitutional situation.”

Q: Yeah. I tend to be hands-on, so I think that’s why I’ve gravitated towards that style. How do you develop that, or teach it, to people that aren’t hands-on? How do you develop the sensitivity, how do you—yeah, how do you develop the sensitivity?

A: Practice. But what I find is that most people who are magnetized to acupuncture are tactile. They’re kinesthetic, tactile people. They want to do stuff with their hands, they want to do it with people, to people, all of that. Or you get people in Chinese medicine who aren’t that way, they gravitate more towards Chinese herbs, which is much more of an intellectual exercise, it’s more contemplative, it’s less about touching people.

Q: Does the translation—because there’s some thoughts that the theory of acupuncture and the theory of herbs are kind of two separate things, they don’t necessarily—so, does the Shu points—does the diagnostics that come with that, does that roll into your herbal formulas?

A: It can. It’s more for my acupuncture, but it will inform it. You know, like let’s say the case that I was talking about, where the liver pulse is both wiry and deficient. It’s kind of a little of both. It’s like, “Well, what’s most important for me to do with this person?” Or, “Gee, OK, we need to do more moving, perhaps.” The symptoms could be either way. They have some signs of Liver Qi stagnation, but they also have some signs of blood deficiency. Well, let’s do both. With herbs, you could do both, but what do you want to emphasize? But I think that by in large, it informs my acupuncture much more than my herbal medicine.

Q: OK. And you leave your hand at the point?

A: While I’m testing with the other one.

Q: Yeah. And they tend to be both bilateral. Do you ever test both sides, or do you just stick with the one side that’s easiest?

A: I tend to just stay on the one side, and then I’ll swing around to the other side of the table. Could you do it? Yeah, you could, but I try to use good body mechanics, and when I start getting too reachy, my back—

Q: Again, I know this is all theoretical, and—so, my hand’s on Bladder 23, and I’m testing kidney points, and I’m testing bladder points, and I can’t seem to feel like it’s releasing on the left side of the body, the side that’s closest to me. Do you ever find that it releases on the opposite side? Or is it pretty much just if you check one side, you’re probably going—it’s going to release the same?

A: Well, what happens often with that situation is I’ll go, “I’m not getting any clear reading. Let’s go over to the other side.” Sometimes I’ll get a clearer reading on the other side, and once I find the relationship, I’ll go back, and it’s like, “Yeah, that was it,” but it’s almost like going at it with fresh eyes, going around to the other side.

Q: OK. So, that is a thing. If you do not find it, you can go check the other side.

A: The other thing is being open to other point locations. For instance, a lot of times the SI 15 area, like, it’s an SI point, maybe, yeah, but for instance [phone rings]. What was I talking about?

Q: Testing both sides, and then alternate point locations.

A: Oh, yeah. So like, Small Intestine 7. Small Intestine 7 can be anywhere from here to here. What you’re looking for is the spot that works. Or Liver 8 is kind of a big zone for me. And there’s a lot of points I use in different locations than the book, that’s where I was taught, or where a lot of people ein the olden days were taught. Like Lung 7 is here, not up here. So, sometimes it’s a different location that will garner it, or it’s an extra point. Like Bladder 19, I’ll check the gallbladder points, and I’ll go, “Did you check Dang-Mang Shue [ph.]? Ah, that’s it.” It’s a real gallbladder-oriented thing where you need to use Dang-Mang Shue. That’s the point that’s most important today.

Q: OK. Anything else I should know?

A: You start playing with it, and then you develop your own style, too. Like sometimes, for Bladder 13 or 42, it’s Lung 1. It’s not on the arm. It’s often the points out here are more active, generally. The Antique Points, as they used to sometimes be called.

Q: That actually is interesting.

A: The points from like the knee down and the elbow down. Those are influential points. They tend to be more influential than some of the body. But sometimes the body points are the most important one. Like Liver 13 or 14 or Lung 1. And sometimes it’s above the knee, like Gallbladder 31 is often a really good point.

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Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
Connect with Willard on LinkedIn at or learn more about his services at Embark on this journey towards holistic health with Willard guiding your way.

How to feel the Blood to Feel the Qi

How to feel the Blood to Feel the Qi


Laydown and Relax. If the Mind that is stressed it can easily override the natural reflexes we are trying to feel. For example Mental stimulation prevents bradycardia during a breath hold (Ross & Steptoe, 1980), which showed Bradycardia was attenuated by mental arithmetic in both air and water.

  • Lay Down (relax the body)
  • Lay Down (Relax the mind)

(Blood going down and out)

1) Exhale all your air and hold.(20-40 sec, exaggerated sign)
Co2 levels will start to rise, which will begin to open blood vessels to your hands and feet. Stay relaxed you will feel diaphragm contraction, it may even go into diaphragm lockdown, this will also push blood away from your core down to your hands and feet. You are feeling QI and Blood going down and out.

Recover minute. The sensation is very powerful and outward. During the breath hold c02 level increased making your blood more acidic which makes it easier for Hemoglobin to release oxygen. While you recover. Your tissue is easily receiving oxygen. You probably also had a spleen contraction which released more red blood cells into your system which will make any other breath-holds easier. Notice what this feels like .

(Blood going in and up)

2) Huff and Puff (30-60sec)
Hyperventilate until you feel tingling and then do a full lung breath-hold. Your C02 levels have now dropped. The Tingling you feel is your blood vessels contracting. The full breath into the chest has closed off your throat. As you hold your breath and relax. Your soft diaphragm will relax and be pushed on by gravity but your hard chest/lung will say full. You will feel more pressure in your head. You are feeling Qi and Blood going in and up. Hold this until you feel a contraction to make sure you c02 levels come back up

Warning If you have a condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), you’ll experience significant increases in your blood pressure stop if you get too light-headed.


Cold Water

(Blood going in and UP)

1) Get in a Cold Shower
Cold water immersion induces significant physiological and biochemical changes in the body such as increase in Heart Rate, Blood Pressure and metabolism, Release of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine from the adrenal medulla of the adrenal glands is part of the fight-or-flight response.

This has an Antidepressive effect of cold shower (depressed people have qi that goes down and out) attributed to the presence of high density of cold receptors in skin expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain kind of like shock therapy.

(Notice your blood/qi going in and up.)

2) Do a full breath hold and wait until you feel the beginning of contraction, then put your face into Cold water.
This stimulates, the trigeminal nerve which will cause the heart to slow, blood pressure to drop, and cerebrovascular vasodilatation. The magnitude of the bradycardia response to breath holds depends largely on the extent of facial cooling.

Notice the Blood/Qi is now going in and down
Notice your contractions will feel less and you get a Tunnel vision feeling.

Tip: You have to say calm and relax or your stress will override this “dive reflex”:

Warm Water

Release and Harmonize the exterior.

1) Get the water hot and have it hit the back of your neck.
The amazing warmth and relaxation should cause Goosebumps. Goosebumps not only respond to cold but the emotions. The sensation of the warm should cause goosebumps. Goosebumps happen on the hairier parts of your body and is similar to sweating. This is the sensation of releasing the exterior.

Clinical Note
Sauna Therapy increases endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity and improves cardiac function in heart failure and improve peripheral blood flow in ischemic limbs.

There is a strong inverse association between regular sauna bathing habits and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged Finnish men.

Sauna bathing, an activity that promotes relaxation and well-being, may be a recommendable intervention to prevent or delay the development of memory diseases in healthy adults. Further study is however needed.

Since hypertension damages blood vessels, it’s easy to see how it contributes to vascular dementia. Although the link to Alzheimer’s disease is less obvious, research suggests that vascular damage and tissue inflammation accelerate injury.

Seated Meditation

Pause on the exhale (You can do this throughout your mediation.)
If you can slow your breathing down below your body’s metabolic demand it will slowly increase C02 levels. You can do this buy just breathing slow and or pausing your breath on the exhale. When you start to have the build-up of C02 and urge to breathe you can need to relax more and decrease the metabolic and it will go away. This is a good Biofeed back method. This is much more gentle then the above methods.

Freedivers do something similar but it is call a Co2 table and looks like this.

The CO2 tables build a tolerance to the high level of carbon dioxide in the blood. Rest time in this table decreases with each round while an apnea time stays the same:

Apnea: 2:00, Rest: 1:45
Apnea: 2:00, Rest: 1:30
Apnea: 2:00, Rest: 1:15
Apnea: 2:00, Rest: 1:00

Pause on Inhale Valsalva Breath-Hold.
(Don’t do this for a very long time.)

Phase one
Breathe in and hold, while bear down causes the pressure in your chest to increase. That’s because the pressure in your aorta inside your chest briefly increases, and blood is forced out of your heart to your limbs and the rest of your body.

This first phase causes a temporary spike in your blood pressure.

Phase two
The second phase causes a steady drop in blood pressure as a limited amount of blood in the veins returns to the heart.

This lower amount of blood returning to the heart results in less blood pumped from the heart and a fall in blood pressure. Your ANS senses this pressure drop and responds by increasing your heart rate and output, and contracting your arteries.

All of this leads to the return of blood pressure to a normal range if your ANS is healthy.

Phase three
At the end of the maneuver, you relax and your blood pressure falls for a few moments. This is the third phase.

Phase four
Soon, blood starts rushing back to the heart. After a few heartbeats, blood flow should be back to normal and your blood pressure will rise because your blood vessels are still constricted.

The blood pressure increase ideally causes the heart rate to come back to normal. That’s phase four.

Restoring heart rhythm
The shifts in blood pressure and heart rate as you move through the four phases of the maneuver can often restore a normal heart rhythm when your heart is experiencing tachycardia.

The pattern of your heart rate and blood pressure changes through the various phases of the Valsalva maneuver works both sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve functions.

If you have a condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), you’ll experience significant increases in your blood pressure during phases two and four.

POTS is a condition in which your blood pressure drops dramatically when you stand after you’ve been sitting or lying down. It can be a very serious health problem, leading to fainting, falls, and other complications.


About the Author
Author Willard Sheppy Exporing the CoastWillard Sheppy is a writer and healthcare practitioner who seamlessly melds scientific knowledge with practical applications in engaging and authoritative articles. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the distinguished Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.
In his work, Willard skillfully combines his extensive educational background in scientific research with his practical experience as a healthcare practitioner. Willard balances his life with martial arts and cherished family adventures. As a father of three, he often leads his family on camping and hiking trips along the breathtaking Oregon coast.
Connect with Willard on LinkedIn at or learn more about his services at Embark on this journey towards holistic health with Willard guiding your way.