Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Needle Safety & Ethics

Acupuncture Continuing Education Online


Learn safety precautions for acupuncture points located over internal organs, major blood vessels and sensitive regions. Review acupuncturist laws and rules and major clinical contraindications. Download the course materials, take the online quiz and receive a certificate of completion for INSTANT acupuncture continuing education credit!
Rating: basic review material for safety purposes

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TB22 (SJ22, Erheliao)

TB22 is located anterior and superior to TB21 and is level with the root of the auricle on the posterior border of the hairline of the temple where the superficial temporal artery passes. This point is approximately 0.5 cun anterior to the upper border of the root of the ear. There is a slight depression on the posterior border of the hairline of the temple where this point is located. SJ22 is the meeting point of the Sanjiao (Triple Burner), Gallbladder and Small Intestine channels. TB22 is an Exit point and is commonly used for the treatment of headaches, deviation of the mouth, head wind, tinnitus and lockjaw.

Acupuncture Point SJ22


TB22 (SJ22) is needled obliquely at a depth of 0.1 to 0.3 inches according to some texts and is needled 0.3 to 0.5 cun transversely according to other texts. Avoid the superficial temporal artery at this location. TB22 is posterior to the superficial temporal artery. Palpate to locate the superficial (superior) temporal artery and the point is in the small depression posteriorly.

Acupuncture point TB22.

TB22 is located posterior to the superficial temporal artery


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This acupuncture point is located 4 cun above the umbilicus on the midline of the abdomen. This acupuncture point is halfway between the umbilicus and the sternocostal angle. CV12 is representative of similar points in the region in that care must be taken to avoid puncturing the peritoneal cavity. As a result, deep insertion is contraindicated. Acupuncture needling is applied at a perpendicular angle from 0.5 to 1.2 inches. The superior epigastric artery and vein are located at this point as is a cutaneous branch of the 7th intercostal nerve. This point is common due to its importance in clinical practice. Avoid becoming forgetful or complacent with the regulation of needle depth due to repetitive use in the workplace.


 Acupuncture points on the abdomen.
CV12 (RN12), CV14, CV15


CV12 is the front Mu point of the Stomach, influential point of all yang organs and an intersection point of the Small Intestine, Triple Burner and Stomach channels. CV12 regulates Stomach qi and transforms and suppresses rebellious qi. Common indications for the use of CV12 include stomachache, hyperemesis, nausea, abdominal distention, diarrhea, indigestion, jaundice, gastric ulcers, acid reflux, mental illness affecting the stomach, mania and insomnia.


 Epigastric artery

CV14 is located on the midline of the abdomen, 6 cun above the umbilicus. CV14 is the front Mu point of the Heart. This point calms the shen (spirit), regulates qi, regulates the heartbeat, pacifies the stomach and benefits the diaphram. CV14 is indicated for the treatment of mental disorders, angina, palpitations, seizures, acid reflux, epilepsy and hyperemesis. This acupuncture point is needled 0.3 to 0.8 inches perpendicularly. Deep insertion is contraindicated in order to avoid the liver and heart and extra caution must be used in cases of hepatomegaly and cardiomegaly.

CV15 is located below the xiphoid process, 7 cun above the umbilicus. This point is located in the supine position with the arms uplifted. This acupuncture point is commonly used in acupuncture clinics along as is its adjacent point CV14, the front Mu point of the Heart. The lower aspect of the heart may be located in this region if there is cardiomegaly. As a result, this point and neighboring acupuncture points including ST19, KI21 and CV14 are contraindicated for deep needling in order to avoid puncturing the heart. Deep insertion is also contraindicated because the liver may be located in this region if there is hepatomegaly.

CV15 is needled obliquely and inferiorly from 0.4 to 0.6 inches. Never needle superiorly as this is in the direction of the heart. CV15 is the Luo point of the Conception Vessel. This point is indicated for use in the treatment of mental disorders, angina, seizures, epilepsy and hiccups.


  Front Mu Points

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DU15 and DU16
Avoid deep insertion of both DU15 (GV15) and DU16 (GV16). DU15 is a sea of marrow point and is a window of sky point. DU15 is an intersection point with the Yang Linking channel and is therefore often referred to as a meeting point of the DU channel with the Yang Linking channel. DU15 clears the senses and consciousness, benefits the tongue and is indicated for the treatment of mental diseases, seizures, epilepsy, deafness, muteness, apoplexy, stiff tongue, aphasia, occipital headaches and stiff neck.

DU15 and DU16

DU15 and DU16

Do not angle upwards or both upwards and obliquely when needling DU15 as not to puncture the medulla oblongata. DU15 is below the spinous process of C-1 and is 0.5 cun above the posterior hairline. Ordinarily, C-1 cannot be palpated. As a result, DU15 is often located 0.5 cun below DU16 on the midline. Since the posterior hairline is 1 cun below DU15, locate DU15 at 0.5 cun above this anatomical landmark.

Recommended needling for DU15 is perpendicularly 0.5 to 0.8 inches. The needle is often angled inferiorly. Caution is used because the spinal canal is deep to this point upon perpendicular needle insertion. Upwards oblique insertion is contraindicated to avoid puncturing the medulla. The branches of the occipital artery and vein are local to this point as is the 3rd occipital nerve.

DU16 is a sea of marrow point, a window of sky point, a meeting point with the Yang Linking channel and a ghost point. DU16 eliminates wind, calms the spirit and benefits the head and neck. DU16 is indicated for the treatment of headaches, stiff neck, mental diseases, sore throat and the common cold, stroke and hemiplegia. DU16 is an important point for the treatment of both external and internal wind. DU16 is below the occipital protuberance and is 1.0 cun above the posterior hairline and in the depression between the trapezius muscles of both sides. To locate this point, run the fingers downward into the depression inferior to the occipital protuberance. Reference this location technique against measuring the point’s location 1 cun above the posterior hairline.

DU16 is needled perpendicularly 0.5 to 0.8 inches. Deep needling is contraindicated to avoid penetrating the medulla oblongata. The spinal canal is deep to this point. Local vasculature includes the occipital artery and branches of the 3rd cervical nerve and occipital nerve are local to this point.


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Moxibustion is contraindicated for the treatment of excess heat. Scarring moxibustion is contraindicated for the head, face and near blood vessels. Scarring moxibustion is not legal in all states and countries. Some malpractice insurance carriers forbid the use of scarring moxibustion. Moxibustion is contraindicated for use in delicate areas including UB1 near the eye and ST9 located beside a major artery. Moxibustion is contraindicated for use on the abdominal and lumbosacral areas of pregnant women.

Cupping is contraindicated for use in pregnant women on the abdomen and lumbosacral areas. Cupping is contraindicated for use on skin ulcerations, edema or on large blood vessels. Cupping is contraindicated for patients with high fever with convulsions. Patients with excess bleeding disorders should not receive cupping.


End Samples. 

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