Acupuncture Points Notebook

Location Guides:

: Shangqiu : Shang (metal note) Mound

Sp-5 : Foot Taiyin Spleen 5

Jing-River and Metal point

Child point of the Spleen channel

On the medial side of the ankle, in the depression which lies at the junction of straight lines drawn along the anterior and inferior borders of the medial malleolus.

Perpendicular insertion 0.2 - 0.3 cun Transverse insertion beneath the tendons, or to join with Jiexi St-41

TCM Actions:
Fortifies the spleen and resolves dampness
Benefits the sinews and bones
Calms the spirit

TCM Indications:
  • Spleen deficiency, indolence, somnolence, lethargy with desire to lie down, abdominal distension, borborygmus, watery diarrhoea, undigested food in the stool, constipation, cold pain in the epigastrium, excessive eating, chills and fever with vomiting, coughing and diarrhoea in children with no desire to eat, swelling of the face, jaundice, yellow face.
  • Stiffness and pain of the root of the tongue, impaired speech, cough, infertility, haemorrhoids, shan disorder.
  • Mania-depression, agitation with thirst, excessive thinking, propensity to laughter, nightmares, melancholy Heart, cold body with much sighing, chronic childhood fright wind, childhood fright epilepsy.
  • Pain and contraction of the sinews, lockjaw, ankle pain, pain of the inner thigh, bone painful obstruction, heay body with painful joints, hemiplegia.

    Superficial Innervation: Saphenous nerve, from femoral nerve (L2 - L4)
    Dermatome Segment: L4

    In five element acupuncture this point is reduced to drain excess in the Spleen.


    Ling Shu Ch. 6 suggests piercing the Jing points of the Yin channels if a disease is in the Yin of the Yang realm (e.g. the sinews and bones). This would mean using this point to treat disorders of the hip, knee and ankle.

    Ch. 7 then suggests using paired needles either side of the tendon to remove a tendon blockage illness, and straight needling to the bone for bone blockage illness. This could be interpreted as using these technique on this point, on either side of the tibialis anterior in incidences of injury to this tendon or straight in cases of ankle injury, or using them as local techniques while Ch. 6 is a distal point suggestion.

    Ling Shu Ch. 44, On the Qi Moving in Accordance with the Norms, indicates that the Jing-River points should be pierced in late summer or when the disease affects the voice. The seasonal aspect should not be interpreted literally as it describes the voice and musical notes as "controlled by late summer". It also describes the morning, afternoon, evening and night cycle of the day to be like the four seasons of the year although late summer is not included in this comparison but presumably has some correlate (maybe late afternoon).


    Avicenna describes venesection at this point in his treatise On Venesection:

    "Among the veins in the great saphenous vein, which is on the inner side of the heel. It is more obvious than the sciatic vein. It is venesected to drain the blood from the organs below the liver and to bring the blood from the upper parts to the lower parts; for this reason, its venesection brings on menstruation and opes up the tips of haemorrhoids. By analogy the venesection of the sciatic vein and the great saphenous vein should have similar effects; however, experience has shown that the sciatic vein is much more effective in treating the pain of sciatica, which may be is close proximity. The best way to venesect the great saphenous vein is to use oblique to cross incisions." (Aspects of Treatment According to General Diseases, 21st section in Abu-Asab, Amri & Micozzi, 2013, Avicenna's Medicine).

    In the 22nd section, On Cupping, he says:

    "Cupping on the leg is similar to venesection in its effectiveness. It cleases the blood and induces menstruation. For white women with loose bodies and thin blood, it is better to cup the legs than to venesect the great saphenous vein." (ibid.)

    It does not give a specific location for cupping on the legs but since it compares it to venesection of the great saphenous it is included here.


    Medieval phlebotomy point (John de Foxton, 1408: Liber Cosmographiae,


    Most likely location for phlebotomy point mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman medicine when after giving birth: "the cervix uteri was retroverted; pain in the hip and leg, relieved by venesection alongside the ankle" (Brain, 1986, Galen on Bloodletting, p.23) as this is approximately where the saphenous vein runs.

    This point was also mentioned by Galen along with Bl-40 to be scarified or bled in the case of suppression of menses (ibid. p.83). According to him scarification at the ankles was more suitable for those of fair skin, while those of darker skin were more suited to bleeding at the knees.

    Hippocrates mentions bleeding from the ankle in the case of a woman who "had no lochial discharge after childbirth; although she had tremor of the whole body" in Epidemics II (Ibid. p.113).

    Reference Notes: (click to display)