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First Aid and Master Acupuncture

by Michael James Edmondson(more info)

listed in acupuncture, originally published in issue 222 - May 2015

A friend recently shared a link - how to survive a heart attack when you are alone - on Facebook, which got me to thinking this; how many people know that there are acupuncture first aid points? 

Red Cross First Aid logo

After all, this is how acupuncture practice began according to popular theory. Thousands of years ago people noticed that being hit on the body, such as when in battle or in competition, and on specific spots on the body, seemed to produce definite outcomes. These outcomes could be repeated by using acupuncture needles on specific acupuncture points along what eventually became known as acupuncture meridians. This early form of acupuncture was called 'hit medicine' for obvious reasons, and the actions of these 'hit points' could also be activated to a greater or lesser extent simply by applying (acu)pressure.

These days first aid is focused on Breathing, Bleeding, Circulation (BBC) and so these are the three areas addressed in this master acupuncture article.

1. Breathing

The most common form of breathing difficulty that requires first aid intervention is asthmatic attack. Many asthma sufferers are able to manage their condition with the use of chemical inhalers, but if a severe attack of asthma occurs then a trip to hospital A&E with oxygen/muscle relaxants treatments is often required. It's that timespan, from the onset of a severe asthmatic attack to paramedic to hospital admission, that the activation of the first aid master acupuncture points for asthmatic attack can be applied through acupressure, and this can be done by anyone!

The acupuncture point in question is Jain Jing ( tr.Shoulder Well) and is commonly known as GallBladder 21.


Activate this asthma first aid point by standing behind the sufferer and placing the ends of your thumbs on GB 21 (this is a bilateral point). Then press the thumbs deep into these points and count five before releasing the thumb pressure. This action sends energy down the body to induce deeper breathing, prevents the lungs from rising up in an asthmatic attack and upon release encourages a return to normal breathing. After another count of five repeat the process, as many times as is needed, or until the sufferer says no more!

2. Bleeding

The first aid acupuncture point for internal or external bleeding is Gao Huang Shu (tr.command point of the vital life centres) and it is commonly known as Bladder 38. Using deep acupressure (bilaterally) on this energy point can help to reduce loss of blood and can be a life saver where internal haemorrhage goes unnoticed.

The location of Bladder 38 is as follows: 3 inches lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of Thoracic 4 vertebra.


3. Circulation

When it comes to circulation we always think of the heart, the pump that provides the muscle for driving the life blood throughout the body. Heart attacks are in the majority evidence of the pump seizing up. It urgently needs restarting for life to continue and the acupuncture point that can enable this is called Shao Chong (tr. small assault) and which is commonly known as Heart 9.


In a heart attack first aid situation this acupuncture point is activated by cutting the skin covering the point to produce bleeding, which in turn releases energy (qi) from not only the heart main energy meridian but also releases energy at the point of departure of the heart tendinomuscular meridian. This energetic effect can release tension within the heart muscle.

Deep clockwise circular pressure is applied to acupuncture point Hou Xi (tr. posterior valley) and which is commonly known as Small Intestine 3, in an effort to restart the pump.

Small Intestine

In a first aid situation every possible means should be employed to maintain life, and knowing where and how to use acupuncture first aid points is another weapon in the first aider's armory.

Of course, there are many other first aid master acupuncture points that focus on other life threatening conditions; however, they require a degree of training and acupuncture skill to be enabled. From before birth (in utero), in and after birth, throughout life right up to its conclusion, master acupuncturists are trained in treating first aid conditions e.g. there is a four needle acupuncture treatment for stroke that if given within four hours of the stroke occurring can substantially reduce the sequelae of stroke; there is an acupuncture point that is claimed to help in sealing holes in the septum of the heart that are present at birth, as long as the point is needled within 24 hours of birth, etc.

Further Information

Master Acupuncture runs a weekend residential course entitled 'acupressure for common ailments' that includes the BBC first aid interventions in this article and much more! Register for this course at



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About Michael James Edmondson

Michael James Edmondson Lic Ac ICOM worked for the NHS for eight years. Michael switched over to alternative medicine and graduated from the International College of Oriental Medicine in 1994. Over the last 20 years Michael has practised clinical acupuncture in both private and NHS clinical settings. Having taught Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong for many years, Michael co-founded the TaiYoga fusion fitness system and is co-founder of Birthday Oils. Michael may be contacted via    


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