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Acupuncture & Fascia - Levels of Fascia & Dao Ma's

It is essential for acupuncturists to understand the different levels of fasciae, from the myofascial level, down to the visceral fasciae. One way acupuncture works is by stimulating the connective tissues to cause mechanical changes. 

If your first point prescription doesn't work, it may be because it didn't reach the appropriate level of fasciae. In this video I introduce how the fascial line model, helps us to understand how different acupuncture points work on different levels. The points on the large intestine and triple warmer meridians work on the Superficial Back Arm Line (SBAL). In contrast the small intestine points work on a deeper level and on the Deep Back Arm Line (DBAL). This is probably why SI 3 is the confluent point for the Governor (DU) meridian.  

In TCM we speak of the different levels of disease progression through the wei, qi, ying and xue levels. However, this is a system that most of us rarely use. It is traditionally used for warm diseases, and it is not the best form of pattern identification to use for typical patients in a Western clinic. Similarly, zang - fu pattern identification is best used for prescribing herbs. When using acupuncture we may also use zang - fu patterns, but there are other diagnostic approaches that are often better suited for acupuncture. For instance, for pain syndromes and musculo-skeletal conditions it is usually best to use a meridian systems approach. These methods draws on the internal - external connections, as well the horary cycle and channel relationships such as the yang ming, tai yang, tai yin, etc.


The fascial plane model as described in the video also provides an anatomical basis for the various meridian system connections. This also relates to the meeting points in TCM, where two or more channels converge on a single point. For instance, spleen 6 is a crossing point for the liver, spleen and kidney meridians. When we understand fascial plane anatomy, it allows us to have greater insights into these meeting points. As another example, GB 20 and GB 21 are meeting points of the SJ and GB meridians. Both of these points are also located on the trapezius muscle, and the trapezius is located on the superficial back arm line (SJ meridian).  


"As an acupuncturist I feel fortunate to live at a time where Chinese medical knowledge is widely available but even so, the practical use of this knowledge is often obscure. For myself the Master Tung system is one of these puzzles. I was pleasantly surprised that Jim’s Master Tung Fascia Course wasn’t just another paint by numbers Tung style course, but presented progressive ideas of fascial planes, anatomy and channel theory that help explain Tung point indications. Through this Jim’s course has helped me get beyond memorizing points for symptoms to a deeper layer of clinical reasoning behind the Tung points. The format was better than expected with well-paced knowledgeable audio files (no rambling on) that referred appropriately to the relevant visually rich slides"


- Paul Burns, Registered Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner, AUSTRALIA


This material has really improved my treatments. I have been getting faster, more consistent results because I have a much better framework of how and when to use particular Dao Mas and how to use them in combinations for even better results. I have listened to the recordings multiple times and feel like I get some new nugget each time. This material is so useful, particularly in a community acupuncture clinic where treatment strategies need to be easy to administer and precise. Thank you so much Jim! I just bought the next course for internal medicine as well!

- Sarah Street, Sol Centered Community Acupuncture, Colorado



"I have been practicing Master Tung's points and Dr.Tan’s Local & Global balance method for the last 2 years. After I enrolled in Master Tung's Points and Fascial Planes course by James Spears, I was introduced to a completely new dimension of acupuncture, and news ways to look at my practice. This course has not only improved my understanding of anatomy, but considering fascial planes is giving me additional insights to connective tissue dynamics (which is also helpful for needling depths estimation). My clinical outcome has been quickly improving since taking this course and hopefully will improve even more with time.


An example of practicing with my new understanding using Fascial Planes. It is well known that while LU channel alone can clear the BL channel, however for Thoracic pain on UB around & behind Scapular area 22.08 & 22.09 worked excellently because of the relationship of the Deep Fascial Line which lies on SI channel."

- Ismail Ratlamwala, Mumbai, India



"After years of searching for a practical understanding  of the mechanism behind the use of distal points, I stumbled upon the work of James Spears. 


Inspired by the work of Thomas Myers and his book Anatomy Trains, Dr. Spears has married the functionality of the points of the Tung System and Balance Method with the physical form of the fascial planes. 


With this clearly explained, the practitioner gains the ability to plan with greater precision in order to achieve the intended result. 


Dr. Spears has provided a portal of understanding and clarity into patterns of injury and dysfunction and how our needles can best address them. This has given a literal new dimension to treatment planning and application that is very satisfying and produces more effective results. 


Furthermore, Dr. Spears provides an easy-to-follow model for diagnosis and choosing the most effective points. With this information, I didnt walk away with the feeling that "something was missing." There is no mystery here. 


I think this information is absolutely essential for practitioners who want to take their diagnostic skills and treatment results to the next level." 


- Beth Jones Lic. Ac.

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