Master Tung's Acupuncture Points, Lower Three Emperors
77.17 (Tian Huang), 77.19 (Di Huang), 77.21 (Ren Huang)
These are some of Master Tung's most important points for treating the leg yin meridians and associated zang-fu organ patterns. The spleen, liver, and kidney meridians all intersect at spleen 6 and transverse in close proximity to each other in the lower leg. The Lower Three Emperors though widely known for treating spleen and kidney patterns, can also treat liver syndromes. Though myofascial anatomy we can come to better understand the functions of these points.
Location: These points are located on the medial side of the tibia on the spleen meridian.
Heavenly Emperor - 77.17 is located at SP 9, just below the medial condyle and between the edge of the tibia and muscle.
Earthly Emperor - 77.19 is located 7 cun above the tip of the medial malleolus on the spleen meridian just between the tibia and muscle.
Human Emperor - 77.21 is 3 cun above the medial malleolus and in the same location as SP 6.
Indications: These points treat disorders of the pelvis, low back, and genito-urinary system. They are also indicated for gastro-intestinal conditions.
Notes: In addition to these points there are several other points on this channel. These include: SP 7, SP 8, 77.18 (Shen Guan), and 77.20
The Lower Three Emperors
Classically, the Lower Three Emperors are Tian Huang (77.17), Di Huang (77.18), and Ren Huang (22.21). In the Master Tung system these points are used as a dao ma. A dao ma is a group of two or three points in close proximity that are needled together. In clinic we can observe this style of needling to be more effective than needling only a single point in a particular body region. Typically, in the Tung system points on the legs are needled in sets of three along the same meridian. We can see this with the Lower Three Emperors, Four Horses, Three Weights, 7 Tigers, and Three Yellows.
The Lower Three Emperors for Pelvic Disorders
Traditionally these points are well known for treating urinary, kidney, gynecological, and reproductive conditions. They are used for PMS, menopause, dysmenorrhea, hypomenorrhea, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), urinary tract infections, hematuria, nephritis, impotence, and more.
While this may seem like a wide variety of syndromes and diseases, one thing that characterizes these conditions is that they are associated with the pelvis. The above disorders may also be related to diverse patterns such as damp and phlegm accumulation, qi stagnation, blood vacuity, kidney vacuity, blood heat, etc. However, if we think of the Lower Three Emperors as treating conditions of the pelvis, it can simplify the way we approach acupuncture.
While identifying zang-fu patterns is necessary for prescribing herbs, a meridian systems approach such as used in the Balance Method is more appropriate for acupuncture.
Examining the myofascial anatomy of the leg yin meridians and Deep Front Line (DFL), we find that these points have a direct connection to the deep fascia in the pelvis.
The image shows the DFL and is associated muscle groups and fascia. Included on this line is the tibialis posterior muscle, adductor magnus, and pelvic floor fascia.
When we needle points on the leg yin meridians - with correct depth and angle - it exerts mechanical signals through this fascial line. Additionally, neurological signals are relayed through the regions related to the pelvis, sacrum, and lower lumbar area.